Day 6: Will we still be here?

John Dagleish in rehearsals. Photograph by Dominic Clemence.
John Dagleish in rehearsals.
Photograph by Dominic Clemence.

Friday night certainly left a nasty taste in the mouth. The worst thing is, as hard as I tried I think I burst a few people’s bubbles after what had apparently been a really good show! I can certainly agree that the first act was bloody marvellous, but the second… I can barely remember what happened onstage, other than George attempting to cheer me up from the stage when he saw me crying.

I’m very thankful to everyone (cast & Sunny fans) for their support since ‘the incident’. I couldn’t have got through it without you! It won’t deter me from telling people to shut up in the future; if anything I think it’ll make me more forthright about it. I hope it doesn’t put any of you off either. I know confrontation of any kind can be a scary thing (I really don’t like it), but sometimes it’s necessary – for the greater good, in this case!

On this day in Kinks history…

In 1969 Shangri-La/This Man He Weeps Tonight was released in the UK, but sadly never charted.

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

Looking forward to On Blackheath

Image credit: @KinksMusical & Sonia Friedman Productions
Image credit: @KinksMusical & Sonia Friedman Productions

My first ever festival! Yes, I’ve reached my grand old age (& lived in Somerset, the home of Glastonbury, for most of it) without ever having this experience. So when it was announced that Sunny Afternoon was going to be at On Blackheath, well… It was too good an opportunity to miss!

And Madness headlining that day… Wowser! It would’ve been nice to catch a full Manic Street Preachers set (I saw them supporting Paul McCartney a few years ago), but considering the only time I’ve seen Madness onstage (& not properly ‘live’) was 10 years ago at T4 On The Beach… The schedule worked out alright, I reckon!

I’ve been trying to get teasers out of the cast about the set list over the past few weeks, and that has made me excited. They worked out new endings to some of the songs that end abruptly in the show – these were first used at their gig at the Roundhouse, but I feel it will be better suited to the cheering crowds on Blackheath Common. Hearing the boys rehearsing ‘Where Have All The Good Times Gone’ and ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else’ from the Moonlight Bar on Tuesday definitely whet my appetite.

It’s going to be a fun one…

The Challenge

Yes, you read that correctly. Re-create my favourite moment in the show, the drum solo. I almost thought, “nah, I’m not doing that!”, but then I remembered that it is challenge week after all – not everything was going to be easy, or not completely embarrassing. So I went with it!

Finding good drum substitutes was really hard… I was going to attempt it with pots & pans but our selection in the flat is not great! In the end I used some bits of cardboard from my printer box & a glass, balanced on top of the printer box itself. Not the most glamorous, or the best sound, but needs must! I at least had some drum sticks lying around that I could use; not the ones Adam gave me after my 100th show, they are far too precious to me.

And here is the end result:

Earlier in the week I’d mentioned to John that this was one of my challenges and he seemed to find the idea hilarious, so I made sure I sent the link to him – I didn’t expect Tam to come out of stage door on Saturday night & tell me he’d seen it!

It was all in the spirit of fun (whoever can’t see that can kindly go away), and it seems the Sunny cast & fans have taken it that way. Honestly, the things I do for this show…

The shows

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I was persuaded (by Ksenia saying one word) to go to the matinée as well as the evening show… Well… After the events of Friday night, as table BB was available it seemed stupid not to go for it! That seat has great sentimental value for me (100th seat an’ all), it’s a great vantage point for my favourite bits of the show, and I also wanted to spend as much time with some Afternooners as possible.

And we ended up with a nice bit of understudy roulette! I’d never seen the lovely Vicki as Peggy before, so that was so exciting for me. Especially as we’d be sat in front of the tap-dancing spot, and where she waits onstage during Set Me Free…

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: choosing to go to Sunny is never a bad decision. It was a fantastic matinée; a pretty enthusiastic crowd, and I was able to enjoy the whole thing. It definitely put Friday night behind me! Some fun interactions with the cast really tops off a trip to the show, and table BB delivered that in spades. It definitely justified my extreme lack of willpower anyway!

It was really great to get to see Ryan again – I definitely want to make the most of any opportunity to see him with the current cast. His duets with both Lillie & George are simply wonderful; their voices work together so well. It is fantastic to see him settled into the role and really making it his own. I’m so glad he’s staying on with the new cast, and as an official alternate. His promotion is so thoroughly deserved.

Onto the evening, a.k.a. the show I was actually supposed to be going to. Up in the dress circle this time – partly due to lack of choice downstairs, but also I was still sticking to my idea of variety throughout challenge week! I managed to sit in a different seat for each show, so it’s worked out rather well. I ended up chatting to the people sat next to me, and it turned out they were old friends of Lillie’s! It was really lovely to inadvertently share their experience; they’d not seen her for about a year & a half, and especially not talking in a Bradford accent… 😉

The show, for me, ranks up there as one of the best I’ve been to! It’s increasingly difficult to compare now, but I can definitely remember when they really stand out at the time (for good or bad reasons). I took advantage of being able to watch stuff going on in the background, as I was raised above it all – it was great seeing some of the pit playing, as well as Ned & Adam backing up on various occasions. Dead End Street and The Moneygoround have fantastic drum parts, so I was glad to be able to catch a glimpse of them for once!

Unlike last Saturday when I was on the other side of the dress circle, it didn’t take much to get everyone up on their feet at the end. The atmosphere was incredible – a really fitting way for the cast to go into their appearance at On Blackheath the next day.

And afterwards I managed to make the presentation of the #SunnyChallenge quiz prize! We were all delighted to welcome Krissy into the Dedicated Follower ranks. At that point, she had managed to see the show 12 times in the 20 non-consecutive days she’d been in London! That really is an impressive strike rate!

John Dagleish and Lillie Flynn in Sunny Afternoon. Photograph by Kevin Cummins.
John Dagleish and Lillie Flynn in Sunny Afternoon.
Photograph by Kevin Cummins.

Today’s Star of the Day is John Dagleish.

And he is a true star, in every sense. Along with Adam & George, John has been with the show from the very beginning – and now he basically is Ray Davies when he steps on that stage. He completely immerses himself into the character, somehow evolving & developing the mannerisms & quirks over the past year. That is the beauty of going to see this show several times over the course of a few months; you can see these changes happening slowly but surely, keeping the production fresh. John is a true master of his art, completely & utterly deserving that Olivier.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months… John will be making the short trip to the Garrick Theatre to appear in a couple of plays in the Branagh residency: The Winter’s Tale and Harlequinade. Nothing major then… Tickets for both are still available (only just, in the case of The Winter’s Tale), and you can also catch TWT in cinemas across the country on Thursday 26 November.

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