London's Hampstead Theatre to Offer World Premiere of Sunny Afternoon, Early Life Story of Singer-Songwriter Ray Davies

By Mark Shenton
16 Dec 2013

London's Hampstead Theatre will present the world premiere of Sunny Afternoon, which tells the early life story of pop singer and composer Ray Davies, co-founder and lead singer and songwriter for rock band The Kinks and later a solo artist. It will begin performances April 14, 2014, prior to an official opening May 1, for a run through May 24.

With music and lyrics by Davies and book by Joe Penhall, it wil be directed by Hampstead artistic director Edward Hall and designed by Miriam Buether.

On July 30, 1966, as Bobby Moore lifts the world-cup trophy, a hundred thousand fans in Wembley are singing "Sunday Afternoon" in unison; the number one hit which rocked the nation that summer. But how did that happen? And how did The Kinks end up not only invading America but also being banned from playing there at the height of their career? Davies' other hits include "You Really Got Me," "All Day" and "All of the Night," with estimated record sales in excess of 50 million.

The musical, which explores the rise to stardom of The Kinks, is set against the backdrop of a Britain caught mid-swing between the conservative 50s and riotous 60s.

Hall most recently directed Raving and Chariots of Fire at Hampsead Theatre, and Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew, A Winter's Tale and Henry V for Propeller, of which he is also artistic director.

Penhall's other plays include Some Voices, Dumb Show, Haunted Child and Birthday (all Royal Court) and Blue/Orange (National Theatre and West End). Screenplays include "Enduring Love" and "The Road."

Public booking opens Dec. 20. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7722 9301, or visit