Review: Happy Days, Appeal Theatre Group, New Wolsey Theatre, June 27

A FAN of the hit 70s and 80s show, this new musical brought back some happy memories.

It was 1959 all over again as Richie Cunningham, Fonzie and the rest of the gang spring into action when Arnold’s Milwauke malt shop faces demolition; but the return of Fonzie’s now famous ex and the fresh out of jail Malachi Brothers throws a spanner in the works.

Cue dazzling dance numbers, songs that sounded straight out the 50s-60s playbook and some great laugh out loud moments.

With new music from Oscar winner Paul Williams and a story from the series’ original creator Garry Marshall it was a really fun night. You couldn’t help tap your feet and want to join the energetic cast on the impressively decorated stage.

The acting and singing was solid, with several stand-out performances.

Richard Thomas, returning to the stage after nearly a decade, as The Fonz was great; knowing exactly when to play it cool and when to play it for laughs. Kelly Mercer as his ex Pinky Tuscadero was more than a match for him when it came to commanding the stage and both had particularly good voices.

Special mention must also go to Wade Ablitt as Richie’s friend Ralph Malph. His comic timing was excellent; providing many of the musicals many laughs.

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Happy Days gets the thumbs up from me.