If you don’t make your way out into the chilly Theatre Square humming ‘That’ll Be the Day’ then there is something wrong with you, the only excuse you can have is that you were humming along to ‘Peggy Sue’ instead!
The Buddy Holly Story which is currently playing at the Wyvern Theatre tells the story of Holly’s meteoric rise to fame before his tragic and untimely death on 3rd February 1959 when he was tragically killed in a plane crash at the age of 22.
Glen Joseph and Alex Fobbester will alternate the role of Buddy Holly and tonight saw Joseph open the Swindon leg of the UK tour belting out the hits the crowd know and love, inviting interaction and participation with commitment and quality as if the crowd had come to watch ‘The Glen Joseph Story’.
The first half kicked off with Holly in Lubbock, Texas playing a bit of Country on the local radio station before breaking out the Rock & Roll, a move that saw him secure his first recording contract. Although not the contract he had hoped.
It wasn’t until he made his move to Norvajak Studios in New Mexico that the hits started to follow.
A new manager Norman Petty (Alex Tosh), appears to have the group’s interests at heart letting Holly make music the way he wanted with hits such as That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Words of Love and finishing up the first half with Oh Boy.
The second half was focussed on the whirlwind romance between Holly and his wife Maria Elena (Kerry Low), who appeared to have more of a Delhi twang than the expected Puerto Rican tone expected of Holly’s wife.
Petty then showed his true colours in the splitting of the band, showing after all that time he was in it for himself and a large share of the bands income!
It was this selfishness and resulting legal battles that meant Holly would have to go out on tour rather than be home with his pregnant wife, a tour which would ultimately end with his death.
The final section of the show focuses entirely on Holly’s final performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1959.
After playing hits such as Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Chantilly Lace, Heartbeat and a show stopping performance of La Bamba with hip swinging Ritchie Valens (Jordan Cunningham) Holly would board a plane to the next gig with Valens and fellow Rock & Roll star the Big Bopper, only they would never make it, the plane crashing in heavy snow killing all on board, something earlier predicted by Maria Elena.
As the curtains close a lone guitar appears in the middle of the stage. A touching moment, a sign of the day music died.
Seconds later the curtains open, the band strike up and the amazing cast get the whole of the Wyvern Theatre clapping and dancing in the aisles to prove that despite his death Buddy Holly’s music will go on and on.
The show’s lead players are all committed to their roles and would have you believe they have been transported from the 1950’s straight to the Wyvern stage and the breadth of the soundtrack is comprehensive enough to stir nostalgia in any dedicated Rock & Roll fan.
If you are looking for a real feel good evening this week then Buddy is on until Saturday 26th November. Get down to the Wyvern you will not regret it although don’t just take my word for it, go and see it!