Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story at the Mayflower Theatre Southampton Review

8-11 January 2020

Reviewed by Joanne Hughes

“This sensational multi award-winning West End show triumphantly returns to Southampton on its landmark 30th Anniversary Tour.

Forget feel good, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is FEEL GREAT! Experience the drama, passion and excitement as a cast of phenomenally talented actors and musicians tell Buddy Holly’s story, from his meteoric rise to fame, to his final legendary performance at The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Featuring two terrific hours of the greatest songs ever written, including That’ll Be The Day, Oh Boy, Rave On, La Bamba, Chantilly Lace, Johnny B. Goode, Raining In My Heart, Everyday, Shout, and many many more, this show is just Peggy Sue-perb!”

Last night, we visited the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton for a fantastic evening of rock-n-roll that proves Buddy Holly’s legend will “Not Fade Away”!

I, like no-doubt the whole world, can sing along to the iconic lyrics of “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll be the Day”, but admit to being somewhat of an amateur to the whole works that this legendary musician accomplished throughout his very short musical career. Thus, I was intrigued and excited to go and see ‘The Buddy Holly’ story at the Mayflower Theatre last night, and what a treat I was in for!

From the opening scene, it was evident this was going to be an evening filled with musical delight and amazing vocal talent. Transported back to the live set of a country and western radio station in the late 1950s, we meet Buddy and his band, The Crickets, starting out singing a country and western song; but this is not Buddy’s music preference, and they quickly sabotage the show, livening up the set with some rock-n-roll. 

Throughout the show we follow Buddy’s meteoric rise to fame; his disappointment on joining Dacca Records and being unable to play his music the way he wants, thus returning to KDAV radio, whereupon the producer, Norman Petty, aids him to re-record “That’ll Be the Day” and becomes the bands manager. Then leaving in pursuit of playing his music the way he wants to and to keep going until a song sounds and feels right.

Apart from the fantastic musical the show also features comical interludes of his mother calling to ensure he’s eating.

Buddy’s was a short-lived career that has had, and continues to have, long-lived repercussions – his music has been an inspiration for many a successful musician/band, not least those of Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Don McLean who referred to that fateful day, February 3, 1959, as ‘The Day the Music Died” in his 1971 song, ‘American Pie’. However, this musical stands as testament that Buddy’s music will never die!

A musical delight with amazing vocals.

Rating: 5/5

Tickets cost from £19.50 to £36.50 (booking fees may apply).

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from 8-11 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 02380 711811.

Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811

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