Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story

CAROLINE CULOT Norwich Theatre Royal


Norwich Theatre Royal

The younger generation might say Buddy who? But when you listen to the young Texan's music, you realise how it has pervaded today's culture in everything from a well-known TV theme tune to adverts and covers over the years.

So, 50 years on, Buddy Holly's music is as popular now as it ever was.

This musical premiered in 1989 and came to Norwich around 10 years ago when I first saw it. It's is a wonderful tribute to Buddy Holly, who rose to fame with his own brand of rock and roll only to be tragically killed in a plane crash, aged just 22, along with fellow performers The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.

The show charts Buddy's rise to stardom, taking us through his greatest hits including That'll be the Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy, Maybe Baby, Heartbeat, and Raining in My Heart.

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Despite its poignant end, this show is a feel-good musical, one to get the audience very much involved with clapping along and even dancing in the aisles.

Last night Edward Handoll as Buddy had the unenviable task of whipping up a tired Monday night audience into a frenzy - and probably against all odds, he managed it by the end.

It's a tough part for an actor because there's no individuality about it - you've got to be skinny, slick your hair back, don the big glasses and be able to sing.

You can't make the part your own but Handoll certainly proved himself worthy of the role, adept at singing and playing the guitar. His gentle love song True Love Ways, when he strums the guitar to his wife, was a particularly lovely scene.

I was a little disappointed with the Big Bopper's performance of the great number Chantilly Lace - William Kenning was not really big enough in stature and I couldn't hear the words very well. However, Mark Ballas really went for it as Ritchie Valens - or did he think he was Ricky Martin? I'm not sure, but the pelvic thrusts were very good!

t Buddy continues at the Theatre Royal until November 4; box office 01603 630000; www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk