REVIEW: Happy Days is a smash-hit for Splinters

Ross Bannister performing as The Fonz in Happy Days
Ross Bannister performing as The Fonz in Happy Days

Forget iPads and trance music and spin back to the days of jukebox records and rock ‘n roll,

An all-singing, all dancing slice of Fifties Americana is served up in the new musical Happy Days.

Fizzing with enough energy and colour to light up the whole of Wisconsin, this feelgood production is a smash-hit for Splinters Theatre Company.

The show takes its cue from the cult TV series of the same name and is jam-packed with box-fresh songs. While the numbers may be unfamiliar, apart from the title track, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of listening to some talented singers. Particularly impressive are the boys’ harmony quartet - called The Dial Tones - composed of Josh Holliday (Richie), Jamie Cooke (Ralph Malph), Adam Walker (Potsie) and Elliott Goodhill (Cha Chi).

Happy Days is all about The Fonz, a swoonsome hero in biker jacket. Chesterfield’s Ross Bannister, of Mybe punk band fame, scrubs up well for his musical theatre debut, earning a black belt in cool and winning his stripes with a powerhouse performance as a singer. He’s a natural on stage and this performance augurs well for a future in this performance discipline, should he want to progress down that road.

Joelle Brabban smoulders as Fonzie’s foxy ex, Pinkie Tuscadero, giving a red-hot characterisation of a hometown girl made good whose heart draws her back to her roots.

Great supporting performances come from Liiy Coates playing Joanie Cunnigham, Emma Townend as Marion Cunningham, Pete Lane as Howard Cunningham as well as John Crowther and Adam Walker as the wrestling villains Count Malachi and Jumpy Malachi.

Choreographer Aggie Gryzel has worked hard with the cast, including some novice dancers, to produce routines which would be hard to beat.

Directed by Ian Walker with musical direction by Steve Myers, Happy Days continues its run until tomorrow (Saturday, October 5).