Sunny Afternoon – reviews of 'exhilarating' Kinks musical

May 5, 2014

Ray Davies's 'irresistibly enjoyable' show about the rise of his great 1960s rock band wows critics

What you need to know

Ray Davies's Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon has opened at the Hampstead Theatre. The production, directed by Edward Hall, features music and lyrics by Ray Davies and a new book by Joe Penhall.

Sunny Afternoon recounts rise to stardom of 1960s pop phenomenon The Kinks, from their early years in conservative 1950s Britain, to the Swinging Sixties. It explores the highs of success and the lows, including feuds and management rip-offs. Runs until 24 May.

What the critics like

If you're a fan of the Kinks, this musical is "the theatrical event of the year", and if you're not, Sunny Afternoon will make you one, says Dominic Maxwell in The Times. This exhilarating rock 'n' roll stage show is fuelled by wit, deft storytelling, great acting and musicianship and some of the best pop songs.

Director Edward Hall "marvellously nails the humour and the pathos of the piece", says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. It is an irresistibly enjoyable and touching night and anyone who loves pop music at its greatest would be mad to miss it.

This musical is "funny, stylish, well-performed, quirky - it has everything The Kinks had," says Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail. Far better than a mere tribute evening, it gives you a strong sense of period and well-drawn characters that evolve with the band.

What they don't like

Critics have very little negative to say about Sunny Afternoon. Nick Hasted on the Arts Desk, admits that Davies's concern with money and court cases makes the second act a knotty, realistic vision of the music business, but it's never too long before girls come cavorting down the aisles "as The Kinks unleash another heartbreaking, triumphant hit".

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Read more: