Chris Holland reviews Sunny Afternoon at The Alhambra

THE Kinks is a name that resonates from the heyday of British pop music when young musicians from ordinary backgrounds created the swinging sixties.

Sunny Afternoon, one of the band’s 14 top ten international hits, is the title of a story recounting The Kinks’ journey from a group of working class mates from London’s Muswell Hill to icons of pop.

Hits created by singer/song writer Ray Davies, who formed the band in 1964 with younger broth and guitarist Dave, along with best mate Pete Quafe and drummer Mick Avory, feature in this foot tapping production, including You Really Got Me, their breakthrough number.

That their work can still fill the Alhambra after more than half a century is testimony to their popularity at the time and the enduring appeal of their particularly English music.

The packed house was predominantly of an age fortunate to grow up in the 1960s, a magic decade of optimism and hope, who lapped up this recreation of The Kinks.

Sunny Afternoon could have been a sugar coated trip through the 1960s music scene but is a much more rounded show.

Performed by an excellent and mutli-talented ensemble cast, it does not shy away from The Kinks darkest moments and the negative impact of fame on their personal lives, including Ray Davies’ marriage to Bradford-born Rasa who became a backing singer in the group.

The Kinks were ripped off financially, banned from touring the United States for four years after a run-in with music industry unions there.

The boys argued, fought and suffered from doubts and insecurities on the rocky road to stardom. But in the end their commitment to their music and their talent ensured The Kinks place in the pantheon of pop giants.

Ryan O’Donnell as Ray, Mark Newnham as Dave, Garmon Rhys as Pete and Andrew Gallo as Mick recreate The Kinks outstandingly.

Their repertoire includes performing several of Ray Davies’ autobiographical hits such as All Day and All of The Night; Sunny Afternoon, Dedicated Follower of Fashion; Waterloo Sunset and Lola

The rousing finale had the packed house on its feet, clapping, waving, swaying and singing.

From those who remember the originals to the goodly number of younger audience members, director Edward Hall’s fast-paced production was fully enjoyed and appreciated.

Sunny Afternoon sent them out into the cold chill of a damp evening with a warm glow humming tunes they remember so well.

* On until Saturday March 4.