I don’t think it’s possible for me to overstate my affection for this show. It’s almost too difficult to put into words, but also it seems to be continually growing each & every time. It amazed me enough when this happened last year with the original cast, but now history is repeating itself and I’m getting sucked in further & further by Sunny’s strange effect…
Sitting there watching a show that I now know far too well, I find myself giddy & light-headed with enjoyment – on occasions forgetting to take a breath, as the action onstage has a real touch of magic about it. I’m closing on 200 shows now, but it never fails to entertain & move me.
As Sunny Afternoon is currently the proud holder of four Olivier Awards, here are four good reasons why you should put a cheeky vote their way…
1. Team B
Without a doubt, the hardest working understudies on the West End. Covering multiple roles, jumping on at the last-minute… I’ve said all of this before, but there’s no harm in a bit of repetition! They are a beloved bunch, and I really feel like a vote for Sunny in the Audience Award is also a vote for them. Need I say more?
2. Cast change
The shoes this cast have had to fill… Most were there from the early days (Adam, John & George from the very first workshop!), so didn’t just perform the roles – they well & truly inhabited them. Add the 2015 Olivier Awards onto that and you have a daunting prospect ahead of you! But the casting team did an immaculate job, finding a group of actor/musicians who found their feet quickly and started to play around with their interpretations as soon as they felt the urge. This playing around helps to make the show feel as natural as possible and, in my opinion, was a big factor in the previous cast’s success. They have created their own version of the show, meaning I am free to love both casts equally!
3. The underdog factor
Of all the shows on the Audience Award longlist, Sunny is probably the least known and shortest running of the lot. Its success at last year’s Oliviers was a bit of a shock (despite us knowing how bloody awesome it is), as it was a completely homegrown production up against big-time Broadway transfers, popular revivals and household names. Going into the ceremony, the only award we felt confident of picking up was the Outstanding Achievement in Music! The fanbase is comparatively small, but no less dedicated. When we set our mind to something we really do give it a good go…
4. The band
The creative team noted how important it was for the band to feel like it was a fully-fledged rock outfit, so before full rehearsals started the four new Kinks were given intensive music sessions. A combination of that and their natural musical talents gives the show a real sense of authenticity, as they have gelled together so wonderfully. Tight, professional, but 100% rock & roll!
Not only are they brilliant musicians, but they are fantastic actors too. You could probably tell from my review that Danny made an immediate impression as Ray – possibly the most true to life portrayal to date, and he is somehow constantly upping his game. I consistently get distracted by Tom’s captivating bass playing, and his representation of Pete gets ever more endearing. Damien is a powerful drummer (I particularly love him breaking loose towards the end of ‘Sunny Afternoon’) and brings humour & pent-up frustration to his performance as Mick. Oliver is a dazzling guitarist (take it from a drum fan), and has really settled into playing Dave – if ‘settled’ is the right word! I know I can always rely on him to make me laugh until I cry, especially at Cardiff and in the studio prior to ‘You Really Got Me’. He & Danny show the brothers’ antagonistic relationship to an absolute tee, and I find myself getting ever more emotional during their final duet.