HAPPY DAYS – Northern Light Theatre Company

HAPPY DAYS – Northern Light Theatre Company

Reviewed by Paul Davies

March 2015

Did they jump the shark? Quite possibly, one could argue that a musical version of a much loved TV show does not add anything positive to the cannon from that show, but I don’t really think it matters in the least.

We all know the limitations of casting in amateur productions, the pool can be small, -I need not have been concerned. Gus Smith did The Fonze with panache. A true, clever, lip-curling performance, and not just an impersonation, which it could easily have become. Nathan Quadrio as Richie, Bianca Levi as Pinky, Delanie Whibley as Joanie, and Michael Pomery as Potsie also wonderfully cast, and brilliantly executed. I occasionally heard echoes of The Big Bang Theory TV show in aspects of the delivery, and I think this appropriate as a 21st century production. Special mention among the cast however must go to Cheryl Ford, whose Marion was actually an impression of the TV original, but of such depth, charm and completeness that one was held in total admiration. A real talent.

There are of course so many sides to a show of this magnitude, a lot of things have to be done well or the whole is ruined. Space prohibits here, however, my favourite aspect of this production is the choreography. The Pedler sisters are very talented and their style and ability brought Happy Days into a different league. The numbers were powerful, individual and consistently well thought out and performed. 

The difficulty with a show like this is that the audience love the original and comparisons are inevitable. Northern Light, and The Humphries direction do not disappoint. Their love for their craft and the concept shine and make for a great night out.

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