Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Top-tapping, thigh-slapping and hand-clapping began at curtain up and proceeded throughout the two hour stomp that is smash hit rock’n’roll musical, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story. Charting the story of the boy from Lubbock, Texas, as he faces rejection from record companies determined not to let him and his friends, the famed Crickets, play their music, their way, they finally find a producer willing to help them take rock’n’roll to the masses, as they take the audience through over 20 hits, including Peggy-Sue, That’ll Be The Day, Every Day and Rave On.

The boys make their way to the Big Apple, where Buddy is captivated by the charms of record company secretary Maria-Elena, cue a speedy marriage and a reason for him to write True Love Ways. A beautiful trot through that most iconic period of Americana, the show takes you on a roller-coaster of an emotional journey, peppered with so many highs before the inevitable low. The highs of the musical score literally had the audience rocking in the aisles, as the audience sang along to each and every word of a magical period of music that’s never been forgotten. The impact of Buddy Holly and the Crickets on global music is phenomenal, influencing everyone from Bob Dylan and The Beatles to Elton John and Bruce Springsteen. Buddy Holly & the Crickets’ stratospheric rise to fame in just 18 months is beautifully documented, before the tragic events of that fateful night, February 3, 1959.

This production is nothing short of West End standard, with its multi-talented group of actor- instrumentalists, including Christopher Weeks and AJ Jenks (who alternate the role of Buddy Holly) Jordan Alexander, Miguel Angel, Joshua Barton, Harry Boyd, Joe Butcher, Cartier Fraser, Josh Haberfield, Rhiannon Hopkins, Sasha Latoya, Hannah Price and Ben Pryer. Buddy has stood the test of time. We were lucky enough to see AJ Jenks in the role who was an absolute delight and real tour de force as Buddy Holly, but the whole cast are to be commended for their brilliant work.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is playing The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until Saturday 11th January 2020.

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