Sunny Afternoon had me dancing in the aisles

Theatre review by Hannah Richardson.

Friday, 2nd September 2016, 4:21 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd September 2016, 5:26 pm
Sunny Afternoon at Milton Keynes Theatre

It’s not often a show has me literally dancing in the aisles – I’m usually far too British for that sort of thing – but Sunny Afternoon really did.

The multi Olivier award-winning hit musical is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday night.

The show tells the story of one of Britain’s greatest bands, The Kinks, through their famous hit songs, as they exploded onto the ’60s music scene with a raw energetic new sound that rocked a nation.

Ryan O'Donnell as Ray Davies

I must say I didn’t count myself a Kinks fan, and wasn’t even sure I’d recognise any of their songs.

I soon found out how wrong I was. These are songs I’ve known all my life – I just didn’t realise they were by The Kinks.

It was packed with familiar and brilliant numbers, including You Really Got Me, Waterloo Sunset, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, All Day and All Of The Night, Lola and of course Sunny Afternoon.

But this was a lot more than a tribute act.

Ryan O'Donnell as Ray Davies

The show tells the true story of the the band’s rise to stardom from working class beginnings.

There were great vocals and some superb harmonies, especially from Ryan O’Donnell who stars as Ray Davies,Mark Newnham as Dave Davies and singer songwriter Lisa Wright as Ray’s Lithuanian wife, Rasa.

But it wasn’t just down to the stars. Just about every member of the small but multi-talented cast showed their musical versatility in this energetic show, some of them playing one instrument after another.

This was definitely a show that grew on me. During the musical numbers in the first act, I was suffering from deafening blasts from the nearby speakers.

After the interval, however, the sound issues had clearly been resolved. The quiet, relective songs were delivered with huge sensitivity, and I could really enjoy the big numbers.

By the end, it seemed like the whole, hugely appreciative audience was on its feet dancing and clapping.

Box office or call 0844 871 7652.

If you missed it ain Milton Keynes, Sunny Afternoon will be at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre from September 27 to October 1.