REVIEW: Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, Mayflower Theatre

By Hilary Porter

OH Boy!Buddy is back and proving it can still 'Rave On' with the best of them!

It is more than a quarter of a century since I was first blown away by this trail-blazing show that inspired a generation of multi-million selling juke-box musicals, from Mamma Mia to We Will Rock You.

As I watched it again from the stalls of the Mayflower it was hard to believe it has been so long as this perfectly crafted show is exactly as I remember it. But then why change or evolve when the creators got it so right from its outset in 1989 when it opened at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre?

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story tells the enduring tale of the musical icon’s meteoric rise to fame and his final legendary performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, before his tragic and untimely death at the age of 22. In 18 short months the Texas-born boy revolutionized the face of contemporary music influencing everyone from The Beatles to Bruce Springsteen.

This super-slick production boasts a brilliant multi-talented cast headed by the totally engaging Glen Joseph - who totally captures Buddy ( a role he alternates with Alex Fobbester) and, like the music legend, has real likeability and the loveliest of voices.

But every member of the cast is superb, not least the actor/musicians who together present two terrific hours of music with over 20 of his greatest hits, including 'That’ll Be The Day', 'Peggy Sue', 'Oh Boy' and 'Rave On'.

And the cherry on the cake comes with the Big Bopper’s comical 'Chantilly Lace' and Ritchie Valens’ hip thrusting 'La Bamba', guaranteed to leave you with a big smile on your face.

Buddy starts in the late 1950's when country music ruled the airwaves which feels like ancient history.

By the second half it feels like we are in the present as we become that audience, singing, clapping, laughing and even dancing, on that fateful night when Buddy and his pals delivered their sensational final show before the utterly tragic and devastating air crash.

Joyfully we have one final high energy encore where the audience was up and dancing to the timeless hits. Don McLean may have sang about "the day the music died" but Buddy's musical legacy continues to live on in this wonderful show.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story continues its run at the Mayflower Theatre until Saturday.

Box Office: 02380 711811 or book online:

Seen by over 22 million music fans since it opened in London’s West End in 1989, Buddy speaks an international language and continues to have audiences from aged 8 to 80 years old rockin’ in the aisles across the globe!