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We Check Out Why It’s Happy Days At The Marlowe Theatre

Dan English, Newspaper Sports Editor, sees the return of Happy Days – not just from finishing exams – but from a musical adaptation of the iconic American sitcom now showing at The Marlowe Theatre.

Are you as cool as Fonzie? That’s what I was trying to work out whilst watching the new musical Happy Days, which is currently visiting Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre this week.

Boasting a cast that included ex-soap star Ben Freeman, Sugababe Heidi Range and Cheryl Baker from Britain’s Eurovision winner, Bucks Fizz – the show is a musical take on the famous American TV sitcom, which ran between 1974 and 1984.

It transports us into 1950s America, the bygone era of swing dancing and rock’n’roll and is set in the prominent ‘Arnold’s Diner’.

The musical is a classic coming-of-age story, for both the womanizer Fonz (Freeman) and for the younger characters, such as Richie Cunningham, played by Scott Waugh, who are about to graduate and take the next step of their lives. The play sees the characters come together to save ‘Arnold’s’ from closure.

The first half seemed slightly sticky, with some of the jokes falling slightly flat, but this was more than made up for by the fantastic second half, with Freeman, Range (Pinky Tuscadero) and Baker (Marion Cunningham) all demonstrating their musical capabilities, which delighted the crowd.

A particular strongpoint saw Baker lament about the struggles of women at the time, and long for a stronger role in society, before whipping off her trousers to reveal a sparkling skirt (a throwback to her Bucks Fizz days), and singing ‘What I Dreamed Last Night’.

It was a neat musical, with all loose ends tied up as the curtain fell, including the love interest between Tuscadero and Fonz. When reunited they sang a duet, ‘Dancing On The Moon’, together earning rapturous applause, as a touch of sentiment and seriousness stood out against the jovial nature of the performance. It also marked a difference in the character of Fonzie, famous for his womanising and his ‘eeeeeeey’ catchphrase.’

The show was also boosted by the skills of its ensemble cast and orchestra, who both executed a tricky musical score in order to successfully recreate the atmosphere of the time-period. This was coupled with the obvious singing of the always catchy ‘Happy Days’ theme song throughout, which frankly, if you weren’t singing along, you were on your own.

The show may have a few flaws, and perhaps the first act needs tightening a little, but that said it is certainly a good night out and a chilled way to celebrate the exam period coming to a close.


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