The Buddy Holly Story at Richmond Theatre Review


Yesterday my little theatre nerd heart was fulfilled. My mum had requested that we went to see The Buddy Holly Story at Richmond Theatre; there was no way I could refuse. I grew up listening to Buddy Holly songs, so I knew that this jukebox musical would take me on a road down memory lane. It was a delightful experience; the audience were happily clapping along by the end of the show.

The Buddy Holly Story is a musical that showcases the songs by Buddy Holly and The Crickets, a rock and roll sensation, while also giving an insight into the journey that was his career! In this production Buddy was played by Alex Fobbester, Joe Butcher appeared as Joe B. Mauldin, Josh Haberfield as Jerry Allison, Thomas Mitchells played The Big Bopper, and Jordan Cunningham played Ritchie Valens. Other actors included Kerry Low as Maria Elena Holly, Matthew Quinn as Hipockets Duncon, and Alex Tosh as Norman Petty. There were many more performers in the show. The show had a relatively small cast, with actors playing various different characters.

All of the actors played their own instruments; this is something that I love to see when I see a performance. Fobbester and many of the other actors did a very good job pronouncing the southern American accent, although during one particular angry moment his diction lacked a little. However, this is just a minor thing compared to the entertainment that he brought to the audience. By the end of the show he was sweating from dancing around the stage so much!

Sometimes the narrative overtook the songs. A famous song would be mentioned and played briefly and that would be it, you wouldn’t hear any more of it, even though it would’ve been something that got the audience riled up. I mean, I would’ve loved to have heard more of Peggy Sue! Such an amazing song, but we only got a little snippet. My favourite moments were definitely when they just let the music tell the story. Buddy Holly serenading his wife with an acoustic version of Heartbeat is all I need to be mesmerised. That was definitely one of the greatest moments.

A re-enactment of the Winter Dance Concert got everyone up off their seats. Featuring La Bamba by Ritchie and Johnny B Goode, everyone clearly loved it. The tragedy of the plane crash that ended the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J P Richardson (The Big Bopper) and the pilot was communicated with the utmost respect and dignity. A spotlight on the guitar that was used by the performer of Buddy Holly and a speech spoken off stage was all that was needed to portray the sad events.

The Buddy Holly Story proves to everyone that Buddy Holly’s music still lives on. The show did a fantastic job in portraying the ups and downs of Buddy’s career. As is mentioned in the programme, Don Mclean named that fateful day as “the day the music died” in American Pie but Buddy’s music is still played decades later. If you get the chance to this show then do, it’s not one to be missed.

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  1. Sounds like a fabulous show! Glad they did so well with it, and that the music was done well, even if there could have been a little more. Nice that the actors played their own instruments too. Great review!