Review: Buddy brings a much-needed dose of feelgood vibes in Northampton

A previous cast performing Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story
A previous cast performing Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story

Emily-Jane Clark reviews Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton

If you are in need of some serious feel good vibes (let’s face it, who isn’t at the moment) I would highly recommend going to see The Buddy Holly Story at the Derngate this week.

I went to see it last night and I honestly believe they should put rock ‘n’ roll music on the NHS to help maintain mental wellbeing because not one person in the auditorium left the show without a smile on their face.

I grew up listening to rock‘n’roll music, including a lot of Buddy Holly. My parents, who were only babies in the fifties, heard it from their parents, and I have fond memories of my sister and I dancing around the kitchen singing ‘Oh Boy’ at the top of our voices (we were such cool kids!). These days I play it to my children and it never fails to get them up dancing.

That’s the thing about rock‘n’roll music - it is impossible to listen to it and not feel happy and at least tap your foot in time to the beat. Or in the case of audiences in Northampton last night –dance in the aisles of a theatre (me included).

The shows tells the story of Buddy Holly’s career that was sadly cut short when he tragically died in a plane crash at 22 years old, along with fellow rock stars the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens who was just 17.

Christopher Weeks was fantastic as Holly but he really came into his own in the second half where back to back hits transformed the theatre into a '50s concert hall.

The hilarious Harry Boyd was outstanding as Hipockets Duncan -he did a brilliant job of getting the audience fired up and narrating Buddy’s story.

It may have been the ‘Buddy’ show, but Holly was not the only star, the actors playing other rock singers, Joshua Barton as the Big Bopper, Ben Pryer as Ritchie Valens, Cartier Fraser and Sasha Latoya as the Ronnettes were all amazing and for me, Miguel Angel performing Reet Petite as Tyrone Jones was one of the stand out performances of the show.

One of the most impressive things about The Buddy Holly Story is that the cast are multi-talented. Not only do they dance and sing but they also play the instruments, which adds authenticity and energy to the entire show.

The audience was a pretty mixed age group from teenagers with their parents, right up to people who probably remember Buddy Holly the first time around, but by the finale every single person was up on their feet singing and dancing along to the music.

If you fancy a dose of the feel-goods I would highly recommend going to see Buddy at the Derngate this week.

* Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story runs until Saturday September 14. Visit royalandderngate.co.uk to book.