Rock And Roll and Buddy!

Buddy (The Buddy Holly Story)

Theatre Severn

10th-14th March 2020

(Matinee 14th March 14.30)

This is a show that just had to come to Theatre Severn eventually. Having been around for more than thirty years this is a truly amazing musical. Cleverly weaving the music of Buddy Holly and The Crickets with the salient points of the young musician’s life and tragically his death the show tells the most famous tale in Rock and Roll History.

To put this musical on as a director, you need to be supremely confident with the cast because there is a lot to be asked of them. Between them they have to be able to play, sing beautifully and act out a plot too. One realises quickly that this is a group with talent to spare.

The story starts in a Country and Western Music station in Lubeck Texas. Buddy and his boys are the resident house band, Buddy wants more and he goes for it. Racing his way up through the fame game he blew everybody away that he met. The ascent begins and culminates with the tragic last concert, The Winter Dance Party on the 3rd Of February 1959, at Clear Lake, California. This is one of those shows where the entire audience knows how it ends but the story is compelling.

The Nineteen Fifties is the first decade where the “kids,” were going to be listened to. Then for every decade to follow, the music of the decade defined the Teens living through it. Fifties we had Rock and Roll, Sixties we saw The Mersey Sound and The Hippie Movement, The Seventies there was Glam Rock and Punk Rock, Eighties New Romantic and Electronic Music, Nineties, Brit Pop, Noughties, R&B and so it goes. But all that music followed the radical thinking and writing of Buddy Holly. We all have a lot to be grateful for. Another observation is this decade is the first one to be lived out completely, as it will be, with a population that at one time or another has been influenced and had their thinking changed by, Pop Music and Youth Culture. So the story is that music that was listened to by a few initially, music that went against the grain and had others tearing their hair out in despair, became the music that influenced a world. Put in that context the Buddy Holly Story is as an important milestone in our development as the invention of the electric used to play it. That is important and that is why the director has to be sure of his cast. This is important history and needs telling properly. Delighted to say it was told properly tonight.

The set is minimalistic and that is because it needs to be so much at so many different times. That is a theatrical paradox, the more you want your show to move around and change from scene to scene the more you will find minilistic furniture and scenery a must. Heavy lavish scenery sticks action invariably to one setting. This set worked perfectly and always found centre stage for the music. After all that is the most important part of this extravaganza. Resembling firstly a radio station and then a recording studio and then the lavish Clear Water stage; the design for the set was sublime and the audience is moved around from scene to scene with ease.

The lighting plan is great, really cleverly done and no cue missed. One can only try and guess how many sound and lighting cues there are but each was hit perfectly. For a first night the whole thing ran wonderfully well.

It is a pacey show and it should be. His music was fast and his life passed even faster, fortunately he left such a legacy. Think of every Buddy Holly song you know and then bear this in mind: He was 22 when he died. One can’t help but wonder what other musical gems we as a society have been deprived of thanks to rubbish American Winters. If it had been a summer tour he would now be 81 and who knows what the story might have been. However this is now a story where the end is indelibly etched in most people’s hearts and couldn’t ever be written again. As for a show….it’s Brilliant!

This is a Five Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. Follow hos blogspot at https://owenscribblerlewis.blogspot.com

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