Day 5: Time for you to laugh instead of crying

Ned Derrington, John Dagleish, Adam Sopp and George Maguire in Sunny Afternoon. Photograph by Kevin Cummins.
Ned Derrington, John Dagleish, Adam Sopp and George Maguire in Sunny Afternoon.
Photograph by Kevin Cummins.

This week just keeps getting better & better! Over the past couple of days, shades of late summer have shown themselves – meaning I’ve had actual sunny afternoons prior to my Sunny Afternoons. Always nice! Though luckily this hasn’t translated into melting heat, as I can never cope with that, and I was starting to worry about the poor cast for a while in June & July.

I had yet more great memories from last night to get me through the day; I’m feeling very grateful at the amount of time the cast are sparing for me this week, especially as they’ve seen me most days for the past month!

On this day in Kinks history…

You Really Got Me reached number 1 in the NME and Record Mirror charts in 1964.

Thanks to the Kinks Oracle (Ksenia) for this content.

Musical Directors

Sunny Afternoon wouldn’t be the show it is without the imagination of its MD, Elliot Ware. Whilst they probably could have performed all of the songs in the same (or very similar) style as they were originally recorded by The Kinks, this approach would be nowhere near as effective – and the show would most definitely lose a dimension because of it.

The beauty of Ray’s songwriting is that it is very adaptable to different genres of music – a wonderful example of this is the use of ‘Stop Your Sobbing’ as a gospel-style wedding song. Between Elliot & Ray, the arrangements are intelligently & beautifully crafted, working both as standalone tracks (see the amazing soundtrack) and as parts of a bigger whole, elevating Joe Penhall’s already brilliant script to something transcendent.

Elliot Ware in Sunny Afternoon. Photography by Kevin Cummins
Elliot Ware in Sunny Afternoon.
Photography by Kevin Cummins

Elliot generally does the lion’s share of show days, however he does have days off (currently he’s using a lot of his time rehearsing the new cast) where Assistant MD, Steve Holness, takes over. I love the contrast between their playing styles, as well as their choice of pre-show routines. Elliot does a kind of overture on the piano, which has remained largely unchanged since I first saw the show, whereas Steve has a bit of a jam with the boys once they get onstage – it all gets quite jazzy and I rather enjoy that! I also urge you to sneak a look at them during You Really Got Me and the finale, in particular…

The Challenge & the show

This moment remains one of my very favourite memories. I can imagine that telling some people that you’re a fan of their facial expressions (I believe those were my exact words) could make them feel a bit self-conscious and maybe even a bit confused… Thankfully not Adam! On Jess’ last night in London he very generously posed for this silly picture with us, all re-creating ‘Mick faces’.

So I thought it would be fun to try & get some more silly pictures together!

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That was, until I had my absolute worst experience in a theatre. All excited about being in my favourite seat, and having had a really REALLY great first act (Cardiff was just sublime), I was buzzing & all set for the second half. After all, it has my favourite/the best bit in it.

Which I wasn’t able to enjoy as much as usual, because the man next to me was texting someone. He had been talking during the first act (along with people on table DD & B), and swapped seats with his (presumably) wife in the interval so he was in the seat next to me. Oddly I had a feeling this wouldn’t be good for me, but I had no idea what was about to come! He kept talking, really loudly, even when the music stopped & dialogue restarted (the whole cast heard). I got sick of it during Moneygoround and told him to shut up – to which I was told to “fuck off”, and that I was a “typical southerner, queening it over” him. (And lots more besides.) Angry, shocked & upset, I started crying. Which elicited even more abuse the next time the lights went down. I was in the middle of the row, he was in my way, there was no chance of me being able to get out or attract an usher’s attention – so I just had to stay put.

I basically couldn’t stop crying once I started. Which was really awkward during Sunny Afternoon! And the finale… I almost couldn’t manage it – stood up as usual, but had to sit back down when the lights came up, as I really didn’t want everyone to see me in absolute bits. Thankfully I managed to get it together & gave it a good go of enjoying myself for the last 5 minutes!

And luckily the bastard left without bothering me again. I also managed to not cry on any of the cast at stage door, always a bonus! Though the hugs most definitely came in handy.

So, in the end, I feel like seeing the show through to the end was a bit of a challenge – and I managed it.

#drumsolo view rating: 5 – obviously ignoring the light from the phone next to me, it was absolutely perfect. Why do you think B15 is my favourite seat?

Adam Sopp in rehearsals. Photograph by Dominic Clemence.
Adam Sopp in rehearsals.
Photograph by Dominic Clemence.

Today’s Star of the Day is Adam Sopp.

It’s perhaps inevitable for us to develop favourites (especially when you see something a significant number of times) – and you’ve probably worked out that Adam has that dubious honour in my case! Despite never having drummed in my life, I’ve always had a fascination with drums & drummers. (When I was younger I loved Queen, and Roger Taylor was my favourite.) Maybe it’s a kind of underdog thing? They’re generally sat at the back & always seem to get overlooked or seen as less important than the other members of the band. Anyway, watching Adam has definitely reignited this interest! The drum solo (apparently added because of Adam’s skills) became my favourite part of the show, and is something I always look forward to – and never feel let down by. Somehow each one manages to be unique, and it really has evolved over the past few months. It’s easy to forget about his acting sometimes, with all the drumming that he does! He has a real talent for comedy in particular, but is no one-trick pony by any means. Especially if you can tear your eyes away from Ned in A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy, or Dom in Days…

He is another with no set future plans as yet, but I’m sure something will come along soon enough – and I look forward to whatever that may be!

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3 thoughts on “Day 5: Time for you to laugh instead of crying

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