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LAST NIGHT'S REVIEW: Happy Days, the Mayflower Theatre
GOODBYE grey skies, hello blue.
Happy Days has been brightening the days of audiences since 1974.
And let’s be honest, we could all do with a little sunshine on a rainy day at the moment.
So the new musical, bursting with colour, song and dance, has come at rather a good time.
A rose-tinted window on life in middle-America in the late 1950s, Happy Days was a global TV hit, making household names of its stars and running for a decade until the mid-80s – not to mention the popular re-runs in the years after.
The second attempt at a Happy Days musical, this stage version joins the Cunninghams and the rest of the gang – Potsie, Ralph Malph, Joanie and Chachi – as they battle to save their beloved diner Arnold’s from demolition.
It may be cheesy, schmaltzy and unashamedly sentimental, but it’s impossible not to feel uplifted by it.
The feelgood show is written by the original creator Garry Marshall – who puts every bit as much love into the scriptwriting as he did into the original – with a fantastic original score by Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winner Paul Williams.
Emmerdale’s Ben Freeman has seriously big shoes to fill as he steps into the iconic leather jacket as The Fonz. But he does it with a likeable charm, displaying oodles of attitude and all the mannerisms we came to love.
Former Sugababe Heidi Range belts out some seriously good notes as his love interest Pinky. And the wonderful Cheryl Baker (Mrs Cunningham) hasn’t forgotten her time in Bucks Fizz either. The pair’s three-hander with Joanie (Emma Harrold) is a real highlight and Baker delivers many of the show’s biggest comedy lines.
Happy Days relies almost entirely on nostalgia, but it does it brilliantly, and the diner set and costumes work perfectly.
Heart-warming and full of fun, it gets a Fonzie-style thumbs-up from me.