As Buddy started I glanced a crossed to my friend who came with me and grimaced, thinking, “Here we go again, another jukebox musical.”
I’m not afraid to admit that I was wrong in thinking that and I’m still smiling now and dancing inside as I write this review.
Buddy premièred in 1989, running in the West End before going worldwide. It’s now back touring the UK celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. The Buddy Holly Story is a bio-musical about Buddy Holly’s remarkable three year rise to fame before he was tragically taken from us in 1959 at only 22 years old in a plane crash.
Two actors are currently sharing the role of Buddy. Opening night starred Glen Joseph playing a passionate yet cheeky Buddy. We follow him as he struggles to perform the music he wants to play whilst working for a country music producers, when his heart clearly is with Rock ‘n’ Roll music. I would like to go back and see Roger Rowley playing Buddy – this has to be the best excuse ever to go see a show twice!
During the first half the show goes from strength to strength. The stage really came together and lit up as we were wow’d by Miguel Angel and Lydia Fraser’s duet performance of ‘Shout’ from the Apollo Theatre, New York, bringing that over the top American vibe to the stage. I kept catching myself smiling and after looking around the theatre I wasn’t the only one. The atmosphere was that of a party, people were singing along and dancing in their seats. The lady next to me turned around and apologised for dancing, to which I replied “No, carry on. I actually think you should be up on stage because you’re loving it so much!”
The show featured over 20 of his greatest hits including ‘That’ll Be The Day’, ‘Everyday’, ‘Oh Boy’, ‘Peggy Sue’, ‘Rave On’ and many more. The second half was targeted more to Buddy fans taking you into the rock ‘n’ roll zone leading us in the story to Buddy’s final appearance in the Winter Dance Party with Ritchie Valens performing La Bamba, and Big Bopper’s song Chantilly Lace.
This is possibly the first jukebox musical I have seen that maintains a strong story line, and that can be followed with ease by all Buddy and non Buddy fans.
This is a Buddy fantastic tribute to Buddy Holly. The show is full of passion which can be felt through the electrifying cast and roof-raising music. Judging by the standing ovation and the audiences reaction last night, the music of Buddy Holly clearly lives on.
The Buddy Holly Story is at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until Saturday 3rd May 2014.