So... 'Maybe Baby' you fancy a great night out but not sure where, or what to see or do? 'Well ....All Right', 'Listen To Me' don't even 'Think It Over' because 'It's So Easy' to get your 'Rave On' if you get along to the Grand Theatre Blackpool, to see the fabulous Buddy Holly Story showing until Saturday 25th February 2017.

 

This popular musical had the aisles rocking and the audience singing along with plenty of hand jiving as Alex Fobbester wonderfully performed the role of Buddy Holly, the young rock'n'roll singer who tragically lost his life in 1959 at the tender age of 22 in a plane crash. That ill fated trip chartered by Holly, also claimed the lives of Ritchie Valens, J .P . Richardson (The Big Bopper) and the pilot.

 

With a simple set which was easily altered to transport us to different locations, the story shows us Holly's determination to play music his way, with his style and staying true to himself. When country and western music was the sound of the day and rock'n'roll considered a 'fad' the opening scenes at the local KDVA radio station feature the Hayriders who sang 'Rose of Texas' before Holly and friends Joe B Maudlin (Joe Butcher, bass guitar) and Jerry Allison (Josh Haberfield, drums) who form his band The Crickets, took to the microphone. They are spotted and signed to country record label Decca, but Holly is not happy and wants greater control of the music he performs. The contract is dissolved and Norman Petty (Alex Tosh) seeing the potential of Holly and The Crickets takes over as manager. Their rise to fame continues with perfectionist Holly's drive and enthusiasm pushing the others to their limits. The band are booked in 1957 to appear at the infamous Apollo Theatre Harlem, New York breaking new boundaries.

 

In Act two, Holly meets Puerto Rican, Maria Elena Santiago (Kerry Low) a receptionist at his music publishers. Smitten he proposes on their first date after just five hours and they marry two months later.  Sadly, the relationship between Holly and Petty and his band The Crickets becomes strained and they part ways in December 1958 with Holly returning to New York alone.

 

Holly embarks on The Winter Dance Party Tour in January 1959 and the story almost becomes a tribute act as we are introduced to fabulous performances from Thomas Mitchells as the Big Bopper and Jordan Cunningham as swivel hipped, Ritchie Valens and their follows amazing renditions of 'Chantilly Lace' and 'La Bamba' which are both met with rapturous applause. As an audience we are now included as though we are the audience at the Clear Lake concert, Iowa, in what was to become the three stars last show before the fateful crash. Fobbester's performance throughout the show is superb, totally capturing the spirit of Holly with his voice and guitar playing and his likeable personality shines through. On February 3rd news of the plane crash breaks and this is treated touchingly and respectfully in the show. Years later their deaths are quoted as 'The Day The Music Died' as penned in Don Mcleans hit 'American Pie'.  

 

The show features so many memorable songs it really brings home how the world lost a true talent in Holly, but his memory lives on and with such a talented cast Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story is a fitting accolade to his life.

 

Reviewer: Lorna Weekes

Reviewed: 20th February 2017

North West End Rating: ★★★★

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