The Kinks’ Ray Davies, as narrator Terry, led the 13-strong cast of his self-penned musical Come Dancing, which ran from September 24th (previews from September 13th) to October 25th, 2008, at the Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Come Dancing is loosely based on Davies’ own childhood when he watched his sisters go out with their latest boyfriends to dances on a Saturday night. Bradley played the role of Arthur in the show, one of these boyfriends, a sort of 1950s ‘yuppie’ who sees a better life for himself and his fiancé Rose away from the rubble of the East End and in the new urban developments of New Towns like Stevenage, of which he sings about. He and Rose get married at the beginning of Act Two.
Set in and around Ilford Palais, Come Dancing is set in the 1950s, a time when Saturday night dancing at the local palais was the magical, not-to-be-missed highlight of every young person’s week.
Although the new musical takes its name from The Kinks 1983 song of the same name, it’s not a compilation of the band’s hits. Instead, it featured new music and lyrics specially written for it by Davies.
London-born Davies was front man for The Kinks from their formation in 1963 until their demise in the mid 90s. During that time, he wrote many hits for the group, including You Really Got Me, Lola, Waterloo Sunset, Do It Again and Come Dancing.
In 1990, Davies and the Kinks were the third British band (along with The Who) to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2005, into the UK Music Hall of Fame. And in 2004, Davies received the CBE for services to music.
Come Dancing was directed by the Theatre Royal Stratford East’s artistic director Kerry Michael (The Harder They Come), with choreography by Omar Okai and musical direction by Robert Hyman. Designs were by Harriet Barsby and Jenny Tiramani, and lighting by Jo Joelson.
Come Dancing was also awarded the MOBIUS Best Off-West End Production at the What’s On Stage - Theatregoers’ Choice Awards 2009.