‘Everyday, Things are Getting Closer…’ Buddy, the Buddy Holly Story, Orchard Theatre, Dartford, 16.05.2023

Last night it was back to the Orchard Theatre for this weekopening night of Buddy, the Buddy Holly Story. A musical which has toured and played at many places and yet this was the first time for me! I was not disappointed. 

Buddy, is the true story of music artist Bobby Holly and his quick rise to fame in 1957, thanks to his first hit ‘That’ll be the Day’ played on the airwaves of many radios. Sadly he left this world too early two years later on ‘The Day the Music Died.’ I knew very little of Buddy Holly himself but was surprised to learn how many of his classics I knew ‘Everyday, ‘Peggy Sue’ ‘Oh Boy’ being just a few. 

With such a cut short career the production itself is very limited within the story but tells it from the moment he hit big to the sad ending along, with each act completing on 2 iconic concerts he played on in Apollo Theatre, Harlem, New York and his final Clear Lake Concert in Iowa. This completely enabled the audience to enjoy the fantastic music that Buddy created and from the reactions to the audience it was clear that they were very much loved, driving people to jump out of their seats and dance. 

Leading the Crickets was A J Jenks as the iconic Buddy Holly, he was instantly loved by the audience from the moment he spoke into the mic portraying Buddy greatly into the iconic glass wearing musician. He was sweet, yet as soon as he played his guitar and sung, he was on fire, throw in some amazing moves too and what else is there? His friendship with his Crickets played by Joe Butcher, Josh Haberfield, and Christorpher Weeks, was clearly displayed at the band themselves each showed their musical talents with the many instruments played. Especially Joe Butcher, who really knows how to make a bass cello impressive – who knew what you could do with a Cello?! 

Along with the band was a great supporting cast, whether it was singing back up or bringing a classic song to life on stage. I particularly loved Miguel Angel’s version of ‘Reet Petite’and ~Samuelle Duraojaiye and Laura-Dene Perryman’s ‘Shout’ getting audience participation and us warmed up for Buddy Holly and the Crickets! But, I cannot complete this review without mentioning Thomas Mitchell as HipocketsDuncan, but also the many characters  that Buddy met along his career and each time he transformed into a different persona which blew me away with his acting ability! Having noted he is a voice actor; it is understandable how he would portray so many different American accents to bring a different role to life. He also knew how to work the audience, and had the audience laughing with his quick wit with his audience participation at the end of act 2! 

For the Buddy Holly fans, I would be surprised if you have yet to see this show, if you haven’t go!  But this show isn’t just for the fans, it is for everyone who wishes to learn about a great musical artist who influenced so many after and guarantees you a good night out that will ensure you are tapping your feet throughout and lead you dancing in your seat or participating in the well-deserved Standing ovation. 

Playing at the Orchard Theatre until Saturday 20th May 2023, for all ticket information go here. It will then  continue on its UK tour, for all dates and info go to the website here.  

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