MORE than sixty years since his untimely death, the musical that celebrates the life of Buddy Holly is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

It's easy to see why The Buddy Holly Story has lasted the test of time.

It's a two and a half hour celebration of some of the greatest rock n roll music ever made.

Members of the audience are transported back to the 50s when a group play a live set in a country and western radio station. But Buddy, the frontman of The Crickets, has no intention of becoming a country star. It's all about rock n roll for him and he launches into an upbeat version of Rip It Up, much to the disgust of his country and western mentor.

AJ Jenks pulls off the titular role with aplomb, aping Buddy's mannerisms and trademark jumps around the stage as well as impressing vocally in everything from Peggy Sue to Oh Boy and Maybe Baby to Heartbeat.

He is joined on stage by a talented cast of actor musicians playing an impressive array of instruments. I particularly enjoyed the dancing on top of the double bass and the playing of the electric guitar behind the head.

The music speaks for itself and we are treated to a number of non Buddy hits of the time including Reet Petite, Shout, La Bamba and Johnny B Goode.

The show charts Buddy's tragic tale from his meteoric rise to fame to his final legendary performance in Clear Lake, Iowa before dying in a plane crash alongside fellow performers Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper at the age of just 22.

It's a terrific show which, towards the end of the second act, becomes more like a live concert featuring one hit after the next and really getting the enthusiastic crowd going.

My only complaint was that I had hoped to hear Don McLean's American Pie, the track which famously pays tribute to the late great Buddy Holly. But, on tonight's showing, perhaps the music didn't die after all.

Buddy runs until Saturday. Tickets: 023 8071 1811.