Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story - copyright image Rebecca Need-Menear

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story Musical Review

I was invited to the press night of ‘Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story’ at Basildon’s Towngate Theatre. The West End and Broadway smash-hit musical opened at Basildon, Essex and extends it’s UK tour to 14th October 2023.

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Buddy has enjoyed phenomenal success, having played a record-breaking 4668 performances over 580 weeks on tour in the UK and Ireland, as well as 5822 performances in London’s West End. Celebrating over 30 years, Buddy is one of a small number of iconic musicals including Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Miss Saigon, Evita and Cats to reach a spectacular three decades on stage.

So what is Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story Musical all about? Read our review and find out everything you need to know about the show and UK tour 2023!

Whether you are a fan of Buddy Holly or not, rock & roll wouldn’t exist without Buddy Holly. This show will have you tapping your feet and clapping along to many of Buddy’s famous tracks. A high energy show with upbeat tempos telling the story of Buddy’s career and his rise to fame before his tragic death in a plane crash in 1959.

In Act one, the stage is set as a Radio station before later transforming to a recording studio. We meet Buddy Holly and The Crickets, starting out on their local radio station and their journey to getting a contract. We get an insight to his creative processes and how he created many of his hit songs including That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy, Everyday and many more. The end of act one we relive his famous performance at Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York.

Act 2 is a re-creation of Buddy Holly’s final gig at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on February 3 1959. We are transported to this glittering ball room where Buddy played on stage with The Big Bopper (played by Christopher Chandler) and Ritchie Valens (played by Miguel Angel). You can expect to hear massive tracks such as La Bamba, Chantilly Lace and Johnny B. Goode. This was the unfortunate night all three of them died in a plane crash, with Buddy at the tragic young age of just 22.

Buddy  - The Buddy Holly Story at Towngate theatre in Basildon

Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was an American musician, singer-songwriter and producer. Initially playing country music before developing his own rock ‘n’ roll style in the mid 50’s. Recognised for his unique sound and distinctive bespectacled look, this guitar playing legend released hit after hit during his time. One of his best known singles was ‘Peggy Sue’.

Sadly, Buddy Holly’s life was cut short in 1959 when he and fellow musicians Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed in a plane crash while on tour. This tragedy shook the music world, leaving devastated fans in its wake. They mourned the loss of one of the most talented and innovative artists of his generation. Despite the heart breaking end to Buddy Holly’s life, his music continues to inspire and influence musicians to this day, including the likes of The Beetles and the Rolling Stones.

Buddy  - The Buddy Holly Story Musical UK Tour 2023
copyright images – Rebecca Need-Menear
Buddy  - The Buddy Holly Story Musical review for uk tour 2023
copyright image – Rebecca Need-Menear

My thoughts on the show

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story Theatre show was simply fantastic. I knew practically all of the songs and it was such a feel good experience. You could feel the whole audience lit up from the energy emitted from on stage, appealing to both young and old. With the performance including the live band on stage made it feel like we were at a real Buddy Holly concert.

It was perfectly cast, AJ Jenks who played Buddy was just amazing. He sounded just like Buddy and played the part spectacularly, he made this show incredibly easy and joyful to watch. The whole cast were such a talented group of actor-musicians, it is easy to see why this show got a standing ovation. It was a joy to just see everyone enjoying themselves on stage.

This was a fun packed and uplifting retelling of Buddy Holly’s career in music and it absolutely hits the nail on the head! Whether you are a Buddy Holly fan or not, this feel good show is guaranteed to put a smile on your face whilst appreciating some good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll! This musical surpassed my expectations!

Everything you need to know to book tickets for Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story UK Tour:

Meet The Cast & Team
  • Buddy Holly – AJ Jenks / Christopher Weeks
  • Joe B Mauldin – Joe Butcher
  • Jerry Allison – Josh Haberfield
  • Ritchie Valens / Tyrone Jones – Miguel Angel
  • Daniel Agredo Piper
  • Stephanie Cremona
  • Jacob Leeson
  • Christopher Chandler
  • Samuelle Durojaiye
  • Ewan Ling
  • Thomas Mitchells
  • Laura-Dene Perryman.
  • Writer & Producer – Alan Janes
  • Director – Matt Salisbury
Buddy UK Tour Dates and booking details:

What is the expected running time?

The show is 2 hours long with a 20 minute interval.

Buddy - The buddy holly story musical at towngate theatre

I was invited to the press night of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story but all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

Thank you for reading ‘Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story Musical Review’.

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