Friday, 28 April 2017

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story

Image Source: ATG
Written By: Seán Fitzsimmons

Format: Musical
Genre: Musical
Date: April 27 2017
Location: Liverpool Empire Theatre

Beginning in Lubbock, Texas, a young Buddy Holly (Glen Joseph), with the support of local radio DJ Hipockets Duncan (Matthew Quinn), sets his sights on fame and becoming a star. With his two pals Joe (Joe Butcher) and Jerry (Josh Haberfield), The Crickets are a trio of fun and talent. Enjoying the platform of local radio, Buddy decides to pursue his real passion - rock 'n' roll.

It soon becomes apparent that these three young musicians have much to overcome in their bid to break into the charts. With suspicion and even out-right rejection of rock 'n' roll, there are many slow to acknowledge Buddy's exceptional talents.

Following a false start at Decca Records, Nashville, the band begin to record with Norman Petty (Alex Tosh). Within weeks, their biggest hit That'll Be The Day is number one in the charts and the ascent to stardom continues rapidly.

At first impression, this story is full of positives and The Crickets are on their way; sadly for the group, this high was to be short-lived.

As Buddy tours the states with his unique look of thick-rimmed glasses and a tightly-buttoned jacket, he meets new adversities: racial division, conflict around contracts and a battle between his new bride's affections and his commitment to the band.

Soon, tensions are at their peak and Buddy breaks away from The Crickets. Going it alone, he sets out to make a life and a home for himself and Maria Elena (Kerry Low). With a baby on the way, Buddy sets off to perform at the Winter Dance Party. It is during this tour that Buddy and his two friends The Big Bopper (Thomas Mitchells) and Ritchie Valens (Jordan Cunningham) take a flight that ends both their careers and their lives. A snow-storm is the cause and, with that, the moment is beautifully captured on stage and Buddy's passing is announced. It truly was "the day the music died".

Punchy and energetic from the first note played, Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story is as well-played as it is well-acted. With a cast of pure theatre and musical talent, this show is a five-star hit.

Each member of the casts contributes perfectly to the story of young Buddy, and the rapport on stage is so tangible, the audience soon feel as much a part of the gig as those singing and playing. Glen Joseph is excellent as a vocalist, and his emulation of some of Buddy's notable sounds is spot-on. Miguel Angel's singing and dancing are only equalled by the fantastic and impressive Jordan Cunningham.

There are no "lesser roles" in this production, and each musician and actor present a performance in their own right. Matthew Quinn is hilarious as Clearlake's MC and equally notable as Murray Deutch.

In the same way as Buddy made rock 'n' roll relevant in the 1950s, this show brings it back into our current decade with punch, zeal and a list of hits that will have the audience dancing all night. Classics such as Heartbeat, It's So Easy (To Fall In Love), Peggy Sue and many more will entertain listeners old and young.

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story is fantastic. It is nostalgia to the older generations as much as it is an education in music for the younger.

With tickets still available, this is a show you won't want to miss.

Overall Rating: 9/10 - Outstanding

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