Life in The Kinks wasn’t all sunny afternoon

Ryan O'Donnell (Ray Davies) and Mark Newnham (Dave Davies in Sunny Afternoon. Photo by Kevin Cummins

Ryan O'Donnell (Ray Davies) and Mark Newnham (Dave Davies in Sunny Afternoon. Photo by Kevin Cummins

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Anyone who thinks that the warring Gallagher brothers in Oasis are a new rock phenomenon doesn’t know the story of 1960s band The Kinks.

The play Sunny Afternoon, coming to Sheffield next week, depicts the band’s wild times, including the battles between Ray and Dave Davies, who were at the heart of the band.

Mark Newnham plays Kinks lead guitarist Dave Davies (he’s the one swinging from a chandelier on P29).

He describes Dave Davies as “passionate. I’ve watched lots of interviews on YouTube and read lots of books. He’s a very passionate character, wears his heart on his sleeve.

“He really liked to live life to the fullest. His onstage antics were very entertaining. It’s a real joy of a part to play, and really good to play alongside three band mates every night.”

He’s met Ray Davies, who created the show, but not Dave, although he has seen the show.

Mark said: “It was a very brave thing for Ray to do, he’s brought his life forward on stage for thousands of people to watch every night. I wouldn’t want to do it myself.

“He doesn’t portray himself in a good light all in all, with some of the horrible things he did. It’s autobiographical but he’s an anti-hero.

“Then you’ve got all these amazing songs, which is crazy. I feel very lucky when I’m playing Waterloo Sunset every night.”

One scene shows how the band created that song. “It’s a magical moment,” said Mark.

Other hits in the show, all played and sung live by the actors, include Days, You Really Got Me, Dedicated Follower of Fashion and Lola.

Mark trained as an actor-musician at drama school and has been in several other shows playing 1960s icons such as Beatle John Lennon and Steve Marriott of The Small Faces..

Which was his favourite? “I couldn’t possibly say, I love them all. They’ve all got different things I like about them.”

Mark would love to play his musical heroes Damon Albarn of Blur or Kurt Cobain of Nirvana on stage.

Meanwhile, he’s having a good time in Sunny Afternoon. “It’s a great fun show and it’s great for group bookings as there’s a party atmosphere.”

There will be a special moment for Mark on stage at the Lyceum as well. “I have to walk up to the mic on stage every night and shout ‘Alright, Sheffield?’ It’s in the script because there was an iconic gig there.

“I can’t wait to go out on stage and shout “Alright, Sheffield?” to Sheffield!”

He’ll be doing that next week from Tuesday to Saturday. Box office: call 0114 2496000 or visit Sheffield Theatres