by Paula Smith
The story of the iconic sixties group “The Kinks’ did not disappoint at Edinburgh Playhouse on the last night of the showing (September the 17th). It was filled with style, humor and rhythmic tunes. The Davies brothers‘ quartet group reveal pieces of their lives bit by bit during this wonderful musical show. The two brothers from Muswell Hill in London join with Pete Quaife and Mick Avory to form the band and to go on and become successful in the UK and the States.
The Kinks’ are working class and proud in North London and no one is going to make them feel inadequate about their background and certainly not the managers and agents who offer to lead the way to fame. The relationship between the band and the managers is fragile, fractious and unstable. Indeed the group wonder about the ten percent each that the managerial team are taking from their income. The financial disarray is apparent from the offset but the brothers plead with their concerned father to sign the music deal. There is much humor with regards to the relationship as the managers are portrayed like displaced ‘Tories’ belonging more in stocks and shares than in the music industry.
We experience the music as story- telling and concert performances. Their appearance on Top of the Pops with ‘You really got me’ reveals their fame and talent and the audience loves it. Tackling the USA is a different matter when it comes to touring. They are greeted in a hostile manner and end up being banned from the country for a period of time as they rebel against the administration policies. Again this scene is in good humor and political attitudes cause conflict with an agent claiming that Ray’s wife must be a communist but the word should not be said as ‘there are children in the audience’
Ray’s relationship with his young wife is shown in a delicate and warm manner. She is a backing vocalist with the group and sings beautifully with Ray. When he is touring in the States they miss each other terribly and she gives the audience the beginnings of ‘tired of waiting for you’. Their relationship plays a key role in the show and Rasa’s solo performances leave us wanting more. The dynamics of the group expose the brother’s differences as well as the guitarist and drummers. It is said that they need each other but do not like each other. The fights and out of control behavior show us that the friction was on going but manageable.
The attitude of everyone changes as it emerges that there will be a new record. The band have grown as individuals and as a group and we feel a sense of maturity and positivity as they blast out ‘Waterloo sunset’. The English winning the world cup in 1966 is referred to but booed by the Scottish audience. We experience the show for the music and the social and political context but it is also light hearted and funny with Dave cracking jokes every so often. The climax of the show is when they finally get to play at Madison Square Garden’s where they rock out ‘Lola’. ‘The Kinks’ is a must see for 60’s music fans – it is funny, sentimental and allows us some great songs of the time.