BWW Review: SUNNY AFTERNOON, King's Theatre, Glasgow, 11 October 2016
First opening in London in 2014, Sunny Afternoon is the story of English rock band The Kinks, which won an Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 2015. The show follows the band from their working-class roots in the early 1960s to their rise to fame.
Sunny Afternoon manages to avoid the trap that many jukebox musicals fall into - shoehorning songs into a cheesy plot. The songs are well known and the likes of "You Really Got Me", "Lola" and "Sunny Afternoon" really get the crowd going. There is a clear narrative and the band have an interesting story: from lead singer Ray Davies getting a girl from convent school pregnant just as the band were about to hit big and being the first group to be banned from America to the sibling rivalry between Ray and his guitarist brother Dave.
Sunny Afternoon uses an onstage band and actor-musicians with fantastic results, and the show feels like a proper rock concert at times. The musical highlight for me was the a cappella version of "Days" with only the four lead actors, Ryan O'Donnell, Mark Newnham, Andrew Gallo and Richard Hurst, onstage.
Sunny Afternoon is definitely the loudest musical I have ever seen, particularly in the finale. The band step onto the stage at Madison Square Gardens and have the entire audience on their feet. There is nothing quite as disconcerting as feeling the grand circle of King's Theatre shaking underneath you! While the second act lags a little as the band's personal lives begin to get in the way, Sunny Afternoon makes for a very entertaining night.
Sunny Afternoon runs at the King's Theatre until 15 October 2016.