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Belgrade Theatre review: The Buddy Holly Story

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, Belgrade, to Nov 9. What an amazing, uplifting show. It’s littered with toe-tapping, feet-stomping, and hand-clapping songs. Whether you’re a Buddy fan or not, I would defy you not to sing along to these memorable rock 'n’ roll songs. The show started with two female country singers, then moved to a radio station where we were introduced to Buddy by local DJ Hipockets Duncan, played by Harry Boyd, sporting a magnificent Texan drawl. The music and story are legendary: How Buddy pushed his music forward, at a time when rock 'n' roll was seen as vulgar, was extraordinary. Throughout the show his strength of character shines through. The show highlighted a concert at the Apollo in Harlem. First up on stage was Jackie Wilson, played by Miguel Angel, who gave us a fantastic rendition of Reet Petite. Next were The Ronettes, played by Cartier Fraser and Sasha Latoya, with a superb performance of Shout. Then it was Buddy and the Crickets, the first white act to appear at the Apollo, and they won the audience over - no mean feat in mid-1950s America. The musical ends at the Winter Garden Party at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. The Big Bopper played by Joshua Barton was outstanding, as was Ritchie Valens played by Ben Pryer. Sadly, we all know what happened next. The show is not sad or morbid; it’s a brilliant celebration of Buddy's short life and the legacy he left. Buddy was played by Christopher Weeks, a talented actor, singer and guitarist. His vocals and guitar playing were outstanding, but all the musicians were excellent.

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