Life after Sunny Afternoon… Part 4

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As we begin the final ever Sunny week, I thought it would be good to give you a bit of an update on what people are up to – it’s been quite some time since part 3! And I spent a fair amount of that time following Adam’s show at the Globe and on its tour, even heading over to New York for a few days to see how they were getting on. But quite a few of the others have been doing various things recently, or have projects coming up.

In my BroadwayWorld UK guise, I’ve also recently written a piece about Days for a new feature series that’s just been launched – so have a read of that once you’re done here!

Adam Sopp, Dominic Tighe, George Maguire, Tam Williams and John Dagleish in Sunny Afternoon. Photograph by Kevin Cummins.
Adam Sopp, Dominic Tighe, George Maguire, Tam Williams and John Dagleish in Sunny Afternoon
Photo credit: Kevin Cummins

We’ve almost come to expect our John to be almost constantly busy, and over the past few months he’s popped up on our TV screens in The Last Dragonslayer and The Moorside, as well as starring as Lysander in the Young Vic’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (unfortunately one of the worst Shakespeare productions I’ve ever seen, but that’s not John’s fault). I also happened to be covering the Oliviers for BroadwayWorld UK and happily he was my first interviewee!

I have a better feeling about his upcoming production of Common at the National Theatre, starring the brilliant Anne-Marie Duff and directed by Jeremy Herrin. I’m still rather busy at the moment, but I’ve managed to find time to go to the first preview at the end of the month! Unlike Dream, which even if I’d liked I couldn’t have watched more than once (it really wasn’t that sort of production), this one sounds like it has more potential for a return visit. Even though he is apparently back in the mud again.

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John Dagleish and Jemima Rooper in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Photo credit: Keith Pattison

After quite some time without seeing her, Lillie got a part in Fantastic Mr Fox! I’d been keen to see it anyway, as I was intrigued by what Arthur Darvill’s compositions would be like, but this just gave me extra incentive. I went to see it in Hammersmith to review and headed over to Dartford for my second visit – and now also have a little trip to Bath all booked for my third visit in June… It’s a proper feel-good show, and definitely is suitable for adults and kids alike (not that I’d necessarily be discouraged by that, mind).

Sadly the tour comes to an end quite soon, so definitely make the most of it while it’s still going.

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Lillie Flynn and Greg Barnett in Fantastic Mr Fox
Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

A couple of weeks ago Damien finished a short run of Breaking Up is Hard to Do: a musical based on the songs of Neil Sedaka. I got myself a press ticket and it took me a bit by surprise at how much I enjoyed it! I ended up seeing it three times (not bad for a four-week run)… It was just really nice to see him out from behind the drums, and hear more of his singing – his falsetto line in Days in Sunny always stood out, but that’s about all you ever heard from him. No word as yet about the next job, but I’m sure we’ll hear something in the not-too-distant future!

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Lauren Cocoracchio, Damien Walsh and Robyn Mellor in Breaking Up is Hard to Do
Photo credit: Kevin Ralph

Since The Buskers Opera this time last year, George has taken on several projects; Godspell at The Actors Church, Another Night Before Christmas and a variety of gigs. Infuriatingly most of these gigs have been on nights where I’ve already made plans, however I finally made it to one last Saturday! With it being quite a dreary bank holiday weekend it was a bit quiet, but that was rather nice – it felt very intimate and all the more special. George has been inviting a few musical mates to perform with him, with Sunny’s Ryan joining him during a break from the tour, and Adam even dropped by on Bank Holiday Monday (this is where the ridiculousness of south-east London transport really failed me – I live about 7 miles away but it takes me over an hour to get there).

He also popped up in episode 2 of Prime Suspect 1973, playing drug squad cop Duke, though whether there’ll be a second series with some more Duke remains to be seen…

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George Maguire and Ryan O’Donnell
Photo credit: @wang_eavan

I very nearly booked to see Filthy Business as soon as the new season was announced, but I just didn’t get round to it. Clearly it was my Sunny instincts on overdrive as both Ned and Liz ended up being cast! I hadn’t seen Liz onstage since Sunny, only bumping into her at the Globe and on the final West End Sunny night, so it really was great to get the chance to see her again. And it had actually been quite a while since the final Globe Dream, the last time I’d seen Ned performing – so getting to see both of them together was ideal. And I never need much of an excuse to go back to the Hampstead!

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Edmund Derrington and Callum Woodhouse in Filthy Business
Photo credit: Dominic Clemence

Oliver Hoare and the Late Great have been putting in the hours gigging over the past few months. So far I’ve only made it to one, but as with George’s gigs their timing has not been my friend! However, the show I did make it to more than whet my appetite for an eventual future evening; the energy’s incredible, and the music even more so.

They’ve just announced a slot at this year’s Wilderness in the Travelling Folk Barn on Thursday 3 August. Unlike some festivals, there are no individual day tickets for this one – so if you want to catch this gig you’re in it for the whole long weekend! There’s a fantastically eclectic line-up, as you might expect, so if you’re up for a few days of camping you’ll be well rewarded.

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Oliver Hoare and the Late Great
Photo credit: @wang_eavan

Tam! Another one that I hadn’t seen onstage since Sunny. He has been involved in several things, but none that have been possible for me to see… Until now! A limited run of The Lottery of Love is about to come to an end at Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre; I’ve seen it a couple of times (once as press) and really enjoyed it. It was also wonderful to get the chance to catch up with him, as he is genuinely one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Let’s hope another role comes round the corner quickly!

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Tam Williams in The Lottery of Love
Photo credit: Helen Maybanks

When I last saw Adam in Brooklyn at the end of March there was no new role on the horizon – all that was certain was that he and George would be able to get together for some more musical stylings. They’ve written some songs already (including some music for Dom’s short film Mdudu Boy), so I’m hoping that we may get to hear some of these originals at some point – or at least slightly more regular gigs while they’re both available. If I’m honest though, I’m still holding out for Adam to return to the Globe while Emma Rice is there…

You may also have seen him pop up ever so briefly as quite a persistent croupier in episode 2 of the second series of Stan Lee’s Lucky Man! It was a bit of a blink and you’ll miss it moment, but luckily for me I love the show anyway (I didn’t just watch it for those few seconds!).

In a few weeks’ time, he and six others plan to complete a 1,000km hand cycle relay to Switzerland to raise money for Hope Health Action – an insane but incredible challenge! If you’d like to sponsor him, please head to his JustGiving page.

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Adam Sopp and George Maguire
Photo credit: @wang_eavan

Silas has been one of the busiest of all in Sunny since leaving Team B two years ago, and now he’s down in Chichester for the season opener Forty Years On. It had been almost a year since I last saw him in The Go-Between, so I headed down last weekend (no issues on my Southern trains!) to see what this one’s like. I won’t lie, it’s a bit bizarre – it’s pretty much all a ‘play within a play’ style thing, but more of a musical revue that looks at different periods in time. So it flips back and forth between years rather than having one completely linear storyline. Having said that, it was all very enjoyable and great for my first Chichester experience!

There will definitely be some more Silas news coming in the next few months, but for now my lips are sealed.

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The cast of Forty Years On
Photo credit: Johan Persson

Somehow I’d not seen Ben in anything other than Sunny; first his original 6-month run and then the last few weeks when Jason left. So how could I turn down the opportunity to see him in the final venue of the Abigail’s Party tour? Well, I couldn’t. The first time you see someone doing something completely different (especially after such a long time) it is a bit weird, but thankfully in a good way! My personal highlight definitely had to be the extremely awkward dancing scene towards the end, which was just hilarious.

It sounds like Ben has a few things lined up for the coming months, so keep an eye out…

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The cast of Abigail’s Party
Photo credit: Nobby Clark

And as if we didn’t have enough Liz news earlier… She’s set to join the new cast of Harry Potter & the Cursed Child in a couple of weeks’ time! No clues at the moment as to exactly what she’ll be doing, but it’s great that we have a familiar face involved in such a popular show. And somehow my luck was in at the last ticket release, so I should get to see her onstage (from a distance) during her final few weeks next year!

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The new cast of Harry Potter
Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

For those of you who have seen any of the tour, there will be a familiar face in this year’s Shakespeare in the Squares – Andy Gallo (Mick) is going to be playing Paris/Prince in Romeo & Juliet! (As if there aren’t enough versions of this particular play this year…) I may have only seen the tour once, but I was hugely impressed by Andy’s performance – not to mention that drum solo! I’m hoping to see this in an official capacity, and look forward to seeing what else he can do.

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Image source: Shakespeare in the Squares

It’s amazing that Em has got herself into one of the hottest upcoming productions of the year, Follies, but that only makes it harder to get a ticket… It’s Sondheim, so probably would’ve sold well anyway, but when you then add Imelda Staunton into the mix you know your ticket-buying life is going to be difficult! (Ignoring the ineptitude of the National Theatre’s website.) However, I’m hopeful of getting something at some point – I’m not fussy, just as long as I’m in the auditorium and get to see Em for the first time in almost two years…

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Image source: National Theatre website

And there are a few other last bits of news… Our lovely Amy is currently directing a production of Hairspray at the Factory Playhouse – it’s performed by musical theatre stars of the future, backed by a top class band.

Bizarrely (but wonderfully) both Kay and Harriet have moved to the world of Mamma Mia! – Kay alternating as Donna on the UK tour (supporting Hampstead Mrs Davies, Helen Hobson), and Harriet starting as Lisa in the West End next month. I’ve not yet seen the stage version, but now I absolutely have to!

Danny’s film Beautiful Devils has had some limited screenings (unfortunately timed around my trip to America), but I’m really hoping there will be a slightly wider release at some point as I’m intrigued to see how Shakespeare’s tale of Othello has been reimagined.


Sunny Afternoon runs at the Theatre Royal Plymouth from 9-13 May 2017. Tickets are available online or from the box office.

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