THEATRE REVIEW: Sunny Afternoon


WHERE: Harold Pinter Theatre

WHEN: 26/12, booking to 16/4/16

We weren’t counting but there seemed to be at least 30 Kinks’ songs featured in this jukebox musical including the title track, Waterloo Sunset, Days, You Really Got Me, Lola and All Day and All Of The Night.

The even better news is that the Harold Pinter Theatre also has tables at front and back, with bar service, which adds to the feeling of being in a relatively intimate club and seeing a live performance.

Encouraging the cast to play instruments throughout much of this two-and-a-half hour show, a device we’ve seen used in The Commitments and Once recently, lends credibility to this story of this rise to fame of these ‘Muswell Hill socialists’ although we were much more interested in the death of songwriter Ray Davies’s sister and the effect this had on him rather than the problems with the unions which blighted their American tours.

Hearing band members complain about homesickness as they travel the world doing what they love pursued by a growing army of enthusiastic fans is the cliche that often ruins groups’ follow-up albums yet here it is played out fully. We’re amazed this won 2015’s Olivier for best musical as we can think of at least five better contenders we’ve seen this year (admittedly not within the judging time period).

For us, Sunny Afternoon is a perfectly pleasant evening spent in the company of a fine songbook which would have been more enjoyable with even less emphasis on plot and storytelling.

  • Picture by Kevin Cummins via Facebook courtesy Sunny Afternoon. Tickets Sunny Afternoon official site.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham.


  1. deb-blogs · December 28, 2015

    What makes this such a great show, and not like other more traditional jukebox musicals, is its emphasis on storytelling and not just making the dialogue the setup for the next song. That is my main problem with ‘Beautiful: the Carole King musical’, for example – there’s no substance to its dialogue, they perform several songs twice in a row… Need I continue? Ray Davies is famous for the storytelling in his songs, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this musical does the same – he is a significant member of the creative team, after all. You nullify your own comment about the Oliviers, so no need for me to say more about that… This feels like half a review; it would be interesting to hear what you thought of the cast, the set, the lighting, the musical arrangement, choreography, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Julie Ferriday · December 28, 2015

    I do not agree and consider this is the best mysical I have ever had the privilege to see. I will keep coming back. I do belueve you may be in the minority with your views.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. mrmonstagigz · December 28, 2015

    Thanks for your comments guys. Julie, we had a great night. 3* not a bad review – if you’re a Kinks fan, Sunny Afternoon will be especially amazing. deb-blogs, we know Mr Blue/Orange wrote it but we’d have preferred a Kinks gig, I think. Hoping to see Beautiful soon.


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