By William Mills
The Buddy Holly Story
Theatre Royal Brighton Monday 14 April – Saturday 19 April 2014
Buddy Holly and the Crickets
The dawn of rock ‘n’ roll was in the 1950’s. In May 1957 Buddy Holly, just 20 years of age stormed the musical stage with chart topping ‘That’ll Be the Day’ and for the following 18 months Buddy Holly and the Crickets became music legends before in was all cut tragically short with a snow storm plane crash in Iowa USA, February 1959.
Buddy opens in small town Lubbock, Texas at a Country and Western dance. Buddy rebels and wants to play rock ‘n’ roll which at that time was regarded with suspicion as it was new and something black folks did. Gradually they work their way up to performing in New York at the Apollo Theatre.
Here, Lydia Fraser and Miguel Angel brilliantly act the part of two black performers shocked that a white band should be playing in a black persons’ theatre in Harlem. Buddy proceeds to win the audience over with his music.
After the interval the racial undercurrent continues with Buddy trying to win acceptance for his wife Maria Elena in the Texas, USA.
It is not until the closing scenes that the acting finally brings the show alive with the addition of Jason Blackwater playing The Big Bopper, and Will Pearce as Ritchie Valens. Both have the audience on their feet with much clapping and applauding.
The audience were quiet to begin with, started singing along to the well known favourite, ‘Peggy Sue‘ then patiently waited for the acting to pick up a gear, before joyously erupting for the rock ‘n’ roll show they had come to see. By the end they looked like they had got their money’s worth.