…there’s something you ought to know

Full company of Sunny Afternoon Photo credit: @KinksMusical
Full company of Sunny Afternoon
Photo credit: @KinksMusical

What a day. Travelling in on the train (after getting a bit more sleep than the past few nights) it didn’t feel like I’d been at the show the night before. Or indeed (as I said in my previous post) the rest of the week. Friday night had been my last chance to get an overall picture of the show with this cast, so it was particularly traumatic in places – listening to the soundtrack on the way in I could just picture Ned’s face during A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy, looking right up at us & seemingly heartbroken. It was very difficult to keep my composure, but luckily shuffle provided me with You Really Got Me next. I’m sure I could’ve found an element of that to cry about, but not at that point thankfully!

The day took a happy turn as I rushed along the platform at Oxford Circus – who did I find there but my favourite understudy Nick?! It was lovely to have some company on the short trip to Piccadilly Circus & then the walk over to the Pinter. Took my mind off the sadder aspects of the day to come.

Photo credit: Sandie Smith
Photo credit: Sandie Smith

As it was the last day, and we didn’t know how much we’d get to see of them after either show, we’d decided to see the cast in – and it seemed right to wish them all the best for the day (we knew it would be hard for us, but what about them?). I’d missed a few people arriving, but happily was there in time to catch Amy dropping off some gifts on her way to Kinky Boots. It was lovely to see her again, as I hadn’t managed to catch up with her when I saw her new show.

We were all glad to catch Silas on his way in, as he was the only understudy to be leaving the show. It’s sad to see him go, but with all his talent his career is bound to just keep going up.

And somehow we all managed to arrive in time to see our favourite Kinks coming in; that was just the final touch on our preparations for the day. Thanks to official photographer Sandie, I have another lovely picture to add to my collection – one of my favourites.

Photo credit: Sandie Smith
Photo credit: Sandie Smith

Sandie, Jess & I were at our favourite table for the matinée, so we were even more determined to have a good time and make things really celebratory. A bottle of prosecco certainly helps matters! Our feather boas had a final outing, and Sandie also had a fedora to give George a bit of a chuckle.

And it was a really fun show. We’d been hoping for some messing around where possible, and we got it. Adam pulled off his most distracting interview scene yet – not sure Ned appreciated it, but “it’s only Ned”… (Not my original words!) The girls left their marks on the boys in the car scene in America – it really works, I think they should keep that in. And the girls all swapped costumes for the finale!

In the end we did manage to see nearly everyone between shows. I’m glad of it, as there was such a happy feeling radiating from the theatre. Being around stage door also gave us the opportunity to meet some of the other fans that we’d so far only encountered via Twitter or the Facebook group; after the evening show would not have been a good time to try & do this, that’s for certain. We all had some more special moments with the cast, which was a bonus – and gave us a boost going into that show…

There was some light relief early on: John got onstage first, and started acting as if he had a fishing rod in his hands. All of a sudden Adam starts to appear, but doing his best to be the fish hooked on the end of the line! (He did it pretty well, there’s a job in mime waiting for him if he gets desperate!) John tried the other side with Ned, but I guess he was having none of it. We were happy anyway. The nerves ramped up as the first chords were played out, but the rapturous applause as Dom & Tam walked onstage made things better. And we were all fine until Dom said “For one last time, I am Robert ‘Bobby’ Wace and we are The Ravens.” A lot of bottom lip wobbling going on then… (I did end up telling him off about that afterwards!)

I did have some little emotional moments in the first act: seeing the ‘Mick faces’ for the last time made Dedicated Follower a bit difficult, for one thing, and the piano version of This Time Tomorrow was rather poignant… But once again, Adam came to our rescue in the interview scene by planting a big kiss on Ned’s cheek and looking VERY pleased with himself about it! Mick was spectacularly angry at Cardiff, and Pete’s “Just keep going!” got the biggest round of applause. What was amazing throughout was the audience’s response – obviously it was mostly made up of the cast’s loved ones & we fans, but still. It made it so much less difficult to get through; it would’ve been easy to sit there thinking “Oh, that’s the last time they’ll do that” and not really take it in.

So I was still on a high when the second act began, although the line “this time tomorrow” still bit a little. And all week I’ve been unable to focus on the diner scene post-Maximum Consumption (thankfully Carly made it back to be the diner girl one last time!), what with it being the build-up to my favourite bit an’ all… And I was not let down. In case anyone (bar me & Adam) is interested, Saturday night was the 148th solo of Adam’s that I’ve seen, and he pretty much saved the best for last. It all went amazingly and it felt like he was going to keep on pounding those final few rhythms forever, but in the end he let go of his creation to the wildest audience reaction of the night (except for the end, of course). It was truly overwhelming. I couldn’t have been more proud if I’d tried! I’ve been on a bit of a crusade for the drummer so it was fantastic that Adam got the recognition he deserved, doing his best to take it all in yet remaining composed enough to carry on with the scene. I had no such control, but then I wasn’t the one up on the stage! It’s the strangest feeling, tears streaming down your face but smiling widely all the while. A complete privilege to be there to witness that.

So from then on the floodgates were open. Sitting In My Hotel (that long note again), A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy (Ned just about held it together to get his final line out), Days (especially Dom & Tam’s extra little group hug at the end) and A Long Way From Home (mainly the boys clinging onto each other at the end). Waterloo Sunset was, of course, beautiful – and everyone was on their feet before the house lights went down at the end.

The brilliant thing about this show is the finale. It did the absolute best job of perking me up, for definite, after a draining couple of hours. I was determined to enjoy their last stint as the band, with everyone onstage together – and I did! An extra big smile popped on my face when I noticed that a bewigged Silas had appeared to have his last bop, also being picked up by Vinny as the last notes rang out for a final hilarious moment.

Photo credit: Sandie Smith
Photo credit: Sandie Smith

A lovely moment to end all lovely moments onstage, as the understudies and Amy (much to the cast’s joy & surprise – we kept that secret well!) emerged to hand over presents, before a final speech from director Ed Hall. His words couldn’t have been more perfect. The day was about the cast, but the show lives on. I, for one, have utter faith in the casting team and that will give me the impetus to go to what I’ve termed ‘Sunny 2.0’. I’m viewing it almost like one show closing and another opening straightaway; it’s the new cast’s now.

I hadn’t intended on going to the stage door after, as it was bound to be mad, but I was waiting for something so decided to brave it – and I’m really glad I did. As much as I’d have preferred to have been out of the crowd in some ways, it was only fitting that I was in my usual sort of spot after a show – the same as nearly every other time I’d been! Emotions were running high all night (cast & fans alike), but we managed to say our thank yous & goodbyes.

And I leave you with the final words Adam said to me: “Here’s to the next 150!”

Adam Sopp in Sunny Afternoon. Photograph by Kevin Cummins
Adam Sopp in Sunny Afternoon.
Photograph by Kevin Cummins

“And though you’re gone, you’re with me every single day – believe me…”

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4 thoughts on “…there’s something you ought to know

  1. Though it didn’t take up nearly as much time in my life as it did for you, the show came to be the centerpiece of my London experience. My heart ached to leave it behind when I came back to the US. This is a lovely account — I’m so grateful to you for sharing it with us. Big hugs.

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