Day 6: They’ll never get rid of me

The cast of Sunny Afternoon. Credit - Kevin Cummins (2).jpg
The cast of Sunny Afternoon
Photo credit: Kevin Cummins

After three and a half hours of sleep, it was time to brave the early morning to queue for tickets… You can never be quite sure whether to get there a couple of hours early or rock up after opening time – as it was looking quite busy I had to err on the side of caution! As it turns out I needn’t have arrived until about 9.30am, but oh well. It meant I was sorted for seats for both shows anyway!

The challenge

Final day, final challenge. (Two shows does not mean two challenges!)

I’m famously rubbish at clothes-based challenges. As Harriet was leaving I had considered dressing as Joyce, but I am definitely not confident enough to go around in minidresses or very short shorts! That meant most other obvious sixties fashions were out. And I couldn’t find a green mohair suit, so… I took Gwen-spiration! Not the right time of year to be finding bright clothes, but I tried. And to distract from that I dug out my Sunny Afternoon scarf, which came in handy later on as it was quite chilly!

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The matinée

Hey – another different seat! I had my favourite seat earlier in the week, and got my favourite table with Jess for what promised to be a fun afternoon show. And lineup fans will be happy: yet another different one! Damien returned, so no Nick, but Lloyd remained as Piven and Kay came back in place of Gillian. I was especially happy to get the full band back for the final day of challenge week; it has a feel of its own when the four are reunited.

I thought that my face was going to break from smiling so widely, and possibly combust from giggling too much. I did wonder what sort of silly tricks they’d get up to – and I really was not disappointed! Dedicated Follower of Fashion was one of the big highlights. I noticed Gabriel’s grin partway through, followed his eyeline and there was Harriet bopping away on her own doing the backing vocals in the booth! Slowly everyone else on the stage spotted it and could barely control themselves.

Jason wasn’t left out either, getting a solo tambourine moment at the end of the finale with a lot of the ensemble bowing down to him! Thanks to these antics I did very well at not crying, that is until the brothers’ confrontation & A Long Way From Home. It always has a habit of getting to me, but Oliver particularly took me by surprise with an intense & emotional performance. An incredibly fun afternoon though and a brilliant anaesthetic for a potentially traumatic evening.

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The evening

And… My mission to have a different seat every time was completed, by getting C9 and being joined by my partner in cackling for the first time in ages! Obviously I hadn’t expected a new lineup; it was just really nice to have a different one each day, and as many of the principal cast as possible for Harriet & Jason’s final farewell.

Slightly concerningly I teared up a bit when Chris gave Harriet a hug as he first saw her onstage during You Still Want Me, but thankfully for the rest of the first act I was only crying with laughter! Assisted massively by Chris’ “You need songs with… Lyrics. Here today, gone tomorrow!” when the band were getting into their new green suits, as well as Oliver poking Chris between the legs with the riding crop at the end of the dentist scene.

But, of course, this couldn’t last. I freely admit to crying like a baby at each of the emotional parts of the second act, though Waterloo Sunset took the crown. In the end, I’m not sure how much of it I actually saw through my tears & the tissue dabbing my face! Hearing Jason approach with his tambourine for the final time set off the waterworks – I got myself back together and then caught Harriet trying not to cry during the bows. This is the sort of situation that the show’s finale is made for! Instantly puts a smile back on the face & is hugely cathartic. I have a tendency to push my vocal cords to the limit in those scenarios, so my voice is not altogether there today, but it’s definitely worth it!

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“So long!” Saturday

Sunny Afternoon is now down a few cast members! As the show extended four weeks longer than originally intended it meant not everyone could stay on – Jay left earlier in the week, and that left Harriet & Jason. I love that matinée performances on someone’s final day are taken as an excuse for a messaround, and today was no different! Much of it came from Harriet (our original Cast Member of the Month), which was a great opportunity to see her cheeky nature really shine. It’s going to be surreal being three down, with two ‘new’ faces coming in to replace them, for the final four weeks. And now it’s really kicking in what will happen at the end of the month…

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