I have a lot to thank my Mum & Dad for; my sense of what is right & wrong, a confidence in the kitchen to try new tastes and a great appreciation of all types of music. It’s true that our choices in music are probably very different now, but growing up, my brother & I were treated to the whole range of early rock ‘n’ roll, pop, country and 60′s contemporary. One of dad’s favourites was Buddy Holly and although I knew a bit about his life and his songs, I wouldn’t profess to knowing the full ins & outs.
The show is a great story of Buddy’s life from his initial song writing, his first radio play, first aborted attempts with a contract with Decca and how he & the Crickets finally broke into the national & international music scene. What I hadn’t realised was the speed in which they turned out the songs – less than 3 years from start to tragic end and yet there are over 20 songs in this show, all of which are classic toe-tappers. His speed in the music writing was only matched by his speed in courting – he proposed to his wife after knowing her for only 5 hours ! Of course, we all know about the terrible early end to his life in a plane crash; this too had a touch of the inevitable about it; they weren’t due to fly at all, but Buddy wanted to get to the next venue ahead of the rest of tour to help get things set up and so they chartered that ill-fated flight.
The production for this tour is wonderful with some great use of scene fades to help keep the sense of time in the studio moving along, while the stage shows are full of energy. The depiction of Buddy & the Crickets’ 1st show at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem was wonderful & funny. The musicians are all very tallented, nonemoreso than Roger Rowley who expertly played the lead with all the mannerisms, drive, passion and innocence that the great man was known for. Of all the actors on show, however, one stood out for me – Felicity Chilver who played Buddy’s wife Maria Elena. Maybe her Mexican accent had the slightest tendency to slip towards Welsh (which made it even more adorable) but that was completely forgiven by her captivating performance as ‘Mrs Holly’, not to mention that she is very, very cute !
Approx 95% of the audience were of an age who would have remembered Buddy Holly 1st time round and this became even more evident as the show moved towards it’s climax – a thrilling, high energy medoly of the best rock ‘n’ roll songs of the time. Whilst there may have been a few stiff hips stopping too many dancing in the aisles, the singing was loud and the handclapping in complete unison.
If you enjoy live music, if you love rock ‘n’ roll and if you want to see a great story with a great cast then Buddy is most definately for you - it’s on all week at the Darlington Civic so get your tickets & Rave On !
As always, the Civic plays a great host, excellent sound & sightlines and very friendly & helpful staff.