If a band or artist has had a few hits, it’s safe to assume these days that there is a jukebox musical doing the rounds but The Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon is up there with the very best.

A multi Olivier award winner in the West End, it is heading out on tour, including a run at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford in November.

Packed with the band’s biggest hits – played by a cast of stunningly talented actor-musicians – the show follows The Kinks from their formation in the working class north London bedroom of brothers Ray and Dave Davies through to their biggest hits with all the bumps along the way.

Cast member Mark Newnham, who plays guitarist Dave Davies, told us: “It is the rise and the demise of the Kinks. We start from very young, from when they were 15 just starting out.

“It largely deals with the two brothers and how the dealt with their issues and the management troubles they had and with money and how they got banned from America.”

And boy did the Kinks have some troubles. The show covers the union issues which saw them effectively banned from the US, the erratic behaviour and sibling rivalry, the homesickness, Pete Quaife’s decision to leave the band, management wrangles and even the moment when drummer Mick Avory knocked out Dave Davies during an on-stage fight in 1965.

With all those real-life escapades to draw on, it is no wonder Sunny Afternoon didn’t go down the We Will Rock You or Mamma Mia route of concocting a new story.

Andrew Gallo, who plays Avory, said: “It is an important story to tell because it is predominantly based on truth, so you have to honour the band and the history of Ray and Dave and Pete and Mick.

“It is all this horribly dysfunctional glue that holds the Kinks together.”

Ray Davies’ autobiographical songs make moulding it into a narrative easier too, though Joe Penhall’s snappy script is not to be underestimated.

Gallo said: “He’s such a storyteller, Ray. And what is different about this show is lots of different parts get to sing the leads.

“Where you have, for example, Well Respected Man Around Town you have the managers singing it and it works just as well having the story driven by the singer.

“One of my favourite songs in the show is Money Go Round which is the tale of where all the money is going to and it sounds like it was written for the show.”

Ray Davies was part of the show’s genesis together and two years after Sunny Afternoon premiered he is still involved in it, meeting cast members and following its progress.

Ryan O’Donnell will play Ray on the tour and has previously played the role of Dave Davies in the show’s West End run.

He said: “I remember the first time he came to watch me doing it.

“I did feel a bit of pressure because I didn’t realise he was in until half way through. I thought ‘this changes everything’.

“I try to always give not necessarily a direct version of Ray, because Ray is quite a quietly spoken man and he thinks about things without vocalising it perhaps. But in our story of him we need to get that story out so he is a bit more rash and loud in the physicality of him, so it is slightly different.

“But when he does come to see it you’re like ‘maybe I should tone this down’.”

Sunny Afternoon is at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford, from November 15 to November 19. Go to orchardtheatre.co.uk

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