The Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon officially celebrates its 1st birthday in the West End today.
The award-winning musical transferred into London’s West End in October 2014 after premiering at the Hampstead Theatre in 2014, and following a preview period, opened at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 28th October 2014 – exactly one year ago today. It has since gained rave reviews, including a 5* rating from a LondonTheatre1.com reviewer, and has gone on to enjoy tremendous success that has seen it take home several awards, including Best New Musical, at the Laurence Olivier Awards 2015. Due to popular demand, the musical has also extended its booking period to 16th April 2016.
Sunny Afternoon charts the rise to stardom of iconic British rock band The Kinks, set against the back-drop of a Britain caught mid-swing between the conservative 50s and riotous 60s.
The Kinks exploded onto the 60s music scene with a raw, energetic new sound that rocked a nation. But how did that happen, where exactly did they come from and what happened next?
The musical made its world premiere at the Hampstead Theatre on 1st May 2014 (previews from 14th April). Following a sold-out run that ended on 24th May 2014, the production announced its West End transfer and began performances at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 4th October 2014.
Sunny Afternoon is directed by Edward Hall and written by Joe Penhall. It is based on the music of The Kinks, with the band’s co-founder Ray Davies credited as composer/lyricist, and features such hit songs as ‘Lola’, ‘Waterloo Sunset’, ‘You Really Got Me’, and of course, ‘Sunny Afternoon’. The production also features designs by Miriam Buether, choreography by Adam Cooper, lighting design by Rick Fisher, sound design by Matt McKensie and musical supervision/direction by Elliot Ware.
It is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, with Tulchin Bartner Productions, Greg Rippley-Duggan for Hampstead Theatre Productions, Tanya Link Productions, just For Laughs Theatricals/Glass Half Full Productions and Rupert Gavin.
The current West End cast, which began performances on 5th October 2015, stars Danny Horn and Oliver Hoare as brothers Ray and Dave Davies respectively, alongside Tom Whitelock as bassist Pete Quaife and Damien Walsh as drummer Mick Avory. The rest of the company includes Jason Baugh (Eddie Kassner), Niamh Bracken (Gwen), Christopher Brandon (Larry Page), Harriet Bunton (Joyce), Alice Cardy (Peggy), Gillian Kirkpatrick (Mrs Davies/Marsha), Megan Leigh Mason (Rasa), Jay Marsh (Gregory Piven), Stephen Pallister (Mr Davies/Allen Klein), Charlie Tighe (Grenville Collins) and Gabriel Vick (Robert Wace). Ryan O’Donnell plays the role of Ray Davies at certain performances.
The show began its first anniversary celebrations last week with a 1st birthday media night on Wednesday 21st October, which was attended by celebrity guests such as Martin Freeman, Samantha Spiro, Greg Wise and George Newton, and a host of famous faces from the music world that included Pete Waterman, Liam Gallagher, Gary Kemp, Dexys’ Kevin Rowland, Prodigy’s Liam Howlett, Libertines’ Carl Barat, The Jam’s Rick Buckler, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Richard Jones, among others. The Kinks’ Ray Davies was also in attendance.
Harold Pinter Theatre
6 Panton Street, London, SW1Y 4DN