***** (5 Stars)
Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent - Monday 3 March, 2014
This upbeat, energetic and thoroughly entertaining Jukebox Musical tells the story of the legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll star Buddy Holly’s rapid rise to fame in the 1950s, following his journey to make the music he wanted, his way.
The cast of exceedingly talented actor/musicians, fronted by Roger Rowley as an exceedingly convincing young Buddy, effortlessly pulls off slick changes of scenes and characters, working well together to create a piece that is both very funny and heartfelt. The show confronts issues such as racism in America during this time and what it was like for Buddy Holly, a geeky-looking white man, to be so successful writing and recording ‘black’ music. The live music generates the rich, authentic sound of the recording studio sessions and the live shows Buddy Holly and The Crickets played to great effect.
Buddy features classic songs such as “That’ll Be The Day”, “Peggy Sue” and “Johnny B Goode” as well as “Shout”, “Chantilly Lace” and “La Bamba”. If the audience were not tapping their toes throughout, they were certainly out of their seats and dancing by the finale as the second act is almost entirely performed as a concert in which the audience are encouraged to sing and dance along. The lighting design by Darren Coopland is especially impressive in this section as the vivid and vibrant display really creates the atmosphere of a 1950s touring Rock ‘n’ Roll show.
Although the Buddy Holly musical back catalogue may have evaded the ears of younger generations, it nevertheless does not diminish just how entertaining and catchy his hits were. Buddy is 2 hours 25 minutes of feel-good energy and excitement that is infectious, no matter what your age or experience of Rock 'n' Roll music. A must see!
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story will be showing at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent until Saturday 8 March. Buy your tickets here: http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/regent-theatre/