Nik Howden plays Splash! star Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards in Fly Eddie Fly at The Everyman, Cheltenham
Fly Eddie Fly, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
If you're looking for a winter warmer then book yourself a seat for the uplifting, true-life story, Fly Eddie Fly, which was premiered at The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham last night (Tuesday).
The play is based on the story of local lad Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, who fearlessly launched himself off the 90-foot ski jump at the Calgary Winter Olympics and into the record books – for coming last.
Twenty-five years later and Cheltenham writer Miranda Walker has captured the British spirit of tenacity over adversity in this heart-warming play which kept me spellbound and smiling from start to finish.
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Premiered in front of Eddie himself, the play celebrates how he turned his Olympic dream into a reality despite having no sporting connections or funding – giving hope to all aspiring sports stars of the future.
"Well it wouldn't be an adventure if I knew what I was doing" is how Eddie, played by Nik Howden, sums it up when attempting the ski jump for the first time after not winning a place in the British skiing team for the Olympics.
But the bespectacled young boy who went on his first ski holiday while at Naunton Park School could never have predicted the worldwide media frenzy he would cause when he hurtled through the air at the Calgary Olympics.
Despite being premiered in the rather cosy Playhouse, we were with Eddie every step of the way from competing on the slopes of St Moritz to appearing on the Johnny Carson Show. This was mainly thanks to the wonderful supporting actors Zara Ramm and Gregor Hunt who played a myriad of roles.
"It was very strange to see your life being played out in front of you," Eddie told the Echo after the show.
"Although I had three long chats with Miranda this is the first time I have actually seen the play and it is amazing how she has got things across with such pace and energy."
Whether you know Eddie from his ski jump days or his diving success in the TV show Splash! you won't fail to be touched by this play which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Unlike many Olympians today our Eddie has gone from zero to hero in recent years.
Fly Eddie Fly… all the way to the West End.
Fly Eddie Fly runs until Saturday, February 23. To book visit www.everymantheatre.org.uk or call 01242 572573.