REVIEW: Sunny Afternoon @ The Opera House, Manchester

SUNNY AFTERNOON TOUR - Ryan O'Donnell (Ray Davies) and Mark Newnham (Dave Davies). Photo Kevin Cummins

Photo: Kevin Cummins

After strolling on a hot sunny afternoon, what better way to spend an evening than to experience this top notch production celebrating the music of one of Britain’s best loved bands at the Opera House.

 

Sunny Afternoon is a marvellous rendition of the story of the Kinks, from their humble beginnings through the turbulent years of establishing themselves as the original Brit Pop masters, their setbacks and heartache, through to their eventual conquest of America.

I have to admit, although I quite liked some of their top hits, the Kinks were never a big favourite of mine. But after witnessing last night’s masterful production, I’m inspired to revisit their music.

The show pulls out all the stops, delivered by a strong cast which doesn’t put a foot wrong. From Ryan O’Donnell’s excellent portrayal of frontman, Ray Davies to the dancing ensemble, every member of this production seem determined to give the audience value for money.

This isn’t a lazy collection of pop classics by a glorified tribute band, which is sometimes the case with shows like this. It is clear that this has the mark of Ray Davies, who penned the storyline for the production, stamped right through it. In fact, you could almost think he was there last night 😉

It’s difficult to single out anyone for special praise, such was the brilliance of the performances. There was a superb chemistry on stage. O’Donnell is excellent as the pop legend and Mark Newnham excels as his brother Dave. Newnham had already wowed Manchester audiences with his incredible musicianship in Return to the Forbidden Planet and in this show he shows off his acting prowess, effectively bringing out the vulnerability of a youngster caught up in the madness of the rock world.

I’m hard pressed to find any flaws in this production. Well worth a visit to the Opera House.

Runs till Saturday August 27

Dave Toomer

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