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Review: Fonzie and the gang at Theatre Royal – a recipe for Happy Days

22:22 10 March 2014

Ben Freeman as The Fonz in the musical Happy Days

Ben Freeman as The Fonz in the musical Happy Days

Archant

The king of cool was given the warmest of welcomes at Norwich’s Theatre Royal as we all gathered to remember those Happy Days.

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Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli, Richie Cunningham, Ralph Malph, Potsie Weber and the rest of our favourite characters from the hit 50s TV show were back for this new musical.

Ben Freeman, who for 10 years starred in popular UK soap Emmerdale, led an impressive cast as the Fonz who must lead the battle to help save Arnold’s diner from demolition.

It is such an iconic role to try and fill but Freeman did a solid job and had Fonzarelli’s mannerisms off to a tee.

Sugababes star Heidi Range, who played Fonz’s old squeeze Pinky Tuscadero was on song as the leading lady.

While former Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker was an inspired casting choice as the maternal Marion Cunningham.

Also worthy of mention were Scott Waugh (Richie Cunningham) James Paterson (Howard Cunningham), Andrew Waldron (Ralph Malph) and Emma Harrold (Joanie Cunningham) who were all true to my memory of the characters in the original show.

Written by the show’s creator Garry Marshall, who directed Pretty Woman, and with Henry Winkler, the original Fonz, a creative consultant, there was an authentic feel to the production which will please the most ardent of fans.

The production includes more than 20 catchy rock’n’roll songs including, of course, the fabulous Happy Days.

There is also a stunning slow motion wrestling sequence and, just when you thought it could not get any cooler, cameos by James Dean and Elvis Presley.

Yes, whether you see this show Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, Saturday you are sure of one thing... Happy Days.

Happy Days runs at Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday. To book tickets call 01603 630000.

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