Splinters Theatre Group’s latest offering benefits greatly from the strength of its two leads.
I breathed a sigh of relief when the charismatic Ross Bannister, complete with slicked back hair and leather jacket strutted onto the stage, thumbs out and intoned “Heyyyyy!” This pivotal moment was nailed perfectly by Bannister. Joelle Brabban, as Pinkie, Fonzie’s erstwhile lover is excellent too, with sassiness and swagger and a smattering of insecurity and vulnerability. The couple find that beneath their veneer of coolness they make mistakes and have weaknesses like everyone, but that’s OK.
Richie Cunningham and the rest of the gang are all about saving Arnold’s, the ultimate place to hangout. Richie and Ralph have to face the fear and confront the Malachi brothers in the wrestling ring.
There is still time of course for boy meets girl, great songs and fabulous fifties jiving to music from the jukebox. Paul Williams’ songs are diverse from the barbershop close harmonies of Romeo Midnight to slower numbers like What I Dreamed Last Night and more upbeat rock and roll like Ooh Bop!
As always though, the main strength of Splinters is the ensemble choreography. Here it is courtesy of Aggie Gryszel. There is plenty of fun fifties partner dancing.