What can be achieved in eighteen months?
Not an awful lot, you may think. Though if he were alive today, Buddy Holly would undoubtedly beg to differ.
In just a year and a half, the revolutionary rocker leapt from obscurity to stardom, writing, recording and performing a series of magical songs.
Then he was dead. The victim of a plane crash which also took the lives of fellow rock luminaries, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.
But the music lives on, in records, broadcasts and the stage, too.
However, ‘Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story’ isn’t the best musical you’ll ever see.
The star’s brief existence on this planet seems rather dull in the fumbling hands of writer-producer, Alan Janes.
That’s probably because Janes focuses almost exclusively on the recording process, and Buddy’s business deals.
Scant attention is paid to the personal life.
All we discover is that Holly wasn’t a racist, was a bit of a momma’s boy, married on impulse, and was proud to wear spectacles.
To be honest, I could have done with even less story.
The music is what the audience turn up for, and the show only shifts into gear in the second act, when dull plot gives way to exuberant singing.
And what a catalogue of songs!
Holly was more than a mere rock icon.
He was an eclectic tunesmith, with a writing range to rival The Beatles.
Yet John had Paul, and Paul had John. Buddy’s only support came from those heavy duty specs.
All performances in ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ do justice to the music. The actors are a bouncy bunch, and Roger Rowley, as Buddy, makes the part of the gangly, goofy rocker his own.
I also enjoyed Melissa Keyes, in various roles, upstaging, hamming it up, and clearly having a hoot.
Until November 19
Rating * * *