In this new series, I uncover the truth and find out what it’s really like to be a student with an obsession. In chapter one, I speak to Founder and Editor of Millennial London, Sarah Louhichi, about her obsession; West End Musical, ‘Sunny Afternoon’.
AC: What would you say is your current obsession?
SL: I’m a huge theatre fan, but lately I’ve been obsessed with one show in particular: Sunny Afternoon. I’ve seen it, so far, 34 times.
AC: To people who have no clue, what is the show about?
SL: It’s the story about the English band, The Kinks, who were around when the Beatles were. The front man of the band, Ray Davies, was involved in making the show. It follows their story and how they got together, how they developed as a band and what issues they encounter. It also tells the story about him and his wife and how they met. All the songs fit so well with the story of the band.
AC: Why are you so obsessed with this particular show?
SL: Well, there are several reasons. Firstly the show is fucking awesome. It’s such a good show, it’s fun, it’s heart felt and the music is great. It doesn’t really feel like a musical at all when you see it. The way the theatre is designed as well, you’re sitting at the front by tables. It’s like a sixties club and you’re actually watching The Kinks.
AC: What drew you to watching this show? How did it first come about for you?
SL: I used to go to this particular theatre (Harold Pinter Theatre) a lot for a different show, so I was already in the theatre scene. So when I found out about the show, after hearing good things about it a year ago, I went and I’ve been hooked ever since. Before I went to see Sunny, I never knew anything about The Kinks. I didn’t know The Kinks existed.
AC: Other than Sunny Afternoon, what other musical or play have you seen at the West End in London?
SL: I’ve seen a lot but recently I saw Kinky Boots, although I prefer plays to musicals. Last week I saw Unfaithful with Matthew Lewis, the week before that I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’m actually going to see the new production of 1984 in a few days, which I’m excited about.
AC: What would you say is your favourite play?
SL: People, Places and Things is my absolute favourite. The main actress, Denise Gough won the Oliver award this year for best actress. It’s such a contemporary play. It just resonates with what’s going on in the world so perfectly, and the issues and problems that people encounter. I would also recommend The Cursed Child. They put so much detail and effort into the show, that even if you didn’t like Harry Potter, you could appreciate the theatrical aspects of it.
AC: So I hear that Sunny Afternoon is finishing next month, but what one thing would you miss the most?
SL: The atmosphere, because what brings me back to the show over and over again, is not one scene or one song or an actor, it’s just everything. I’m outside the theatre and all I want to do is go inside and see it. There’s so much energy and excitement every time I go.
AC: What advice would you give to current students with an obsession?
SL: Go for it, have fun, don’t be ashamed and be proud of your obsession. It’s nice to be passionate about something, because it means you are living your life and enjoying it to the fullest, rather than just sitting at home doing nothing and being lazy.
AC: How do you handle student life with your obsession of having to see this musical at least once a week?
SL: I always make sure University comes first. If I spontaneously buy tickets, then I go straight from Uni. I make sure I’m done with all my work first, and that I don’t have an early class the next day. I just make sure there is a balance between the two.
AC: What would you say is the best thing about living in London?
SL: Everything is so accessible especially with the tube, you can get to every place so quickly and there’s so much to do here, you never get bored. You can always find new ways to do things. As a theatre lover, there is so much more to see than just the popular tourist West End musicals and plays.
AC: What play or musical do you want to see, but haven’t had the chance yet?
SL: I really want to see Les Misérables, Funny Girl (which is sadly ending soon), Aladdin, The Entertainer with Kenneth Branagh, No Man’s Land with Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and Waiting for Waiting for Godot which is a play about understudies.
AC: These days you get quite a famous cast appearing on the West End from Films and TV shows. Have you ever been to see a show just to see a specific actor?
SL: I went to see The Maids because Uzo Aduba was in it, she’s in Orange is the New Black, and only recently in June I went to see Doctor Faustus, which had Kit Harrington in from Game of Thrones. It’s always interesting to see people from the screen perform live.
AC: How would you sum up your experience as a student with an obsession in a few words?
SL: Time consuming, life changing and an incredible experience.