September 30 2016: Kinks show is a rock ‘n’ roll fantasy

The Evening Express, September 30 2016

It’s not every day a job interview involves a visit from one of the UK’s greatest rock stars.

But it’s fair to say starring in an all-singing stage show about The Kinks is not your average job.

Still, when frontman Ray Davies turned up to the auditions of musical Sunny Afternoon, the actors got a shock.

“He was in the finals for everyone in the cast,” says Andrew Gallo, 25, who plays Kinks drummer Mick Avory in the musical, which arrives in Aberdeen in November.

“It’s terrifying when you know this man, you’ve listened to this man and you’ve seen this man throughout the years.

“And then suddenly you’re in a very high pressured situation – it’s the last hurdle of auditions – and there’s 18/19 people from the company sitting there waiting for you to do your stuff.

“They’re introducing you and then suddenly they say: ‘Oh and Ray’s here’.”

However, the stars were pleasantly surprised.

“Actually Ray’s incredibly supportive and he loves the show,” says Mark Newnham, 30, who plays Ray’s madcap brother Dave Davies. “He was really helpful at giving us feedback.”

“He always has a tiny little nugget of information to give to you,” adds Andrew.

“He can be awesome but also very dry and sarcastic at the same time but that’s part of his charm. He does have a lot of gravitas. That’s a man who knows what he’s doing.”

If it sounds like the cast are in awe of Ray, it’s not difficult to see why.

As leader and chief songwriter of the Kinks, Ray is responsible for classics, including You Really Got Me, All Day And All of the Night, A Well Respected Man and Waterloo Sunset.


The 72-year-old was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is responsible for writing a host of musicals.

So when drummer Andrew received a nod from this living legend it was a life changing occasion.

“Before I even knew I got the job there was a moment I thought: ‘this is a life moment I’ll keep forever’,” says Andrew.

“I had to do my drum solo. I finished and looked around.

“Ray looked at me and did a little clap.

“And I just thought: that’s a moment I’ll keep forever.

“If I get this job, great, if not, Ray Davies applauded me for something I did.”

Tickets are flying off the shelves for the musical, which comes to His Majesty’s Theatre for a five-day run on November 8.

It follows the early life of Ray and brother Dave, charting The Kinks rise to the top while negotiating contractual wrangles, breakdowns, love and plenty of fights.

The dysfunctional relationships between the band members is one of the most documented in rock history.

On one occasion Dave was knocked out on stage by Mick while the band were playing Cardiff’s Capital Theatre in May 1965.

This turns out to be one of the most memorable scenes in the musical.

And aside from the fights, Mark, who has previously starred as another musical rock legend, Small Faces frontman Steve Marriott in All or Nothing, says the audience are in for a treat.

“You’re performing with authentic instruments and you’re surrounded by girls dancing in genuine 60s dresses. “I think for an audience member it is like going back in time.”

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