Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story at the Regent Theatre Stoke Review

18-22 February 2020


Reviewed by Joanna Woodburn

The sensational multi-award winning show Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a UK tour and now playing at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. This smash hit acclaimed show has been seen by over 22 million people worldwide and has had generations of audiences rocking in the aisles.

The Regent Theatre originally opened in 1929 as a super cinema. It reopened in 1999 following a £23 million development of the city centre and now plays host to the best in drama, musicals, opera and dance.

The theatre is an impressive and stylish venue, the well tiered seats are comfortable and there is good leg room. Service is impeccable and staff go out of their way to look after their patrons, we were well looked after throughout our visit. The John Street multi story car park is only a few minutes away, with very reasonable, well-lit parking after 6 pm and there is disabled parking opposite the theatre.

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is full of nostalgia of such an iconic period and has much to admire. The musical tells the true story of Buddy Holly, the boy from Lubbock, one of the original founders of true rock ‘n’ roll, who brought us music that defined a generation, inspired so many and changed music history. It has a timeless quality, with so many of the songs ingrained in modern culture, it is a show that will be a hit across the generations.

Audiences will be in for a magical, musical treat!  With two superb hours featuring some of the best songs ever, the rich catalogue of hits will have your feet tapping from start to finish. Favourites such as ‘That’ll Be The Day’, ‘La Bamba’, ‘Chantilly Lace’, Raining in My Heart’ and ‘Peggy Sue’ propel the story forward as well as giving moments for the audience to just indulge and enjoy.

As the story unfolds, we feel a connection and experience a roller-coaster of emotions, with so many highs and lows along the way. From playing in The Crickets with his friends and facing rejection from the record companies through to the success of finding a record producer who will let them play the rock ‘n’ roll they love. Buddy Holly blazes a trail for being endearingly determined to be different, from playing ‘his music his way’ through to the glasses he wears.

The talented cast give strong and convincing performances to tell the amazing story of Buddy Holly and The Crickets’ spectacular success and meteoric rise to fame over eighteen intense months, before the tragic events of February 3rd 1959. That infamous, heart-breaking night in rock ‘n’ roll history, which came to be known as ‘The Day the Music Died’ from the Don MacLean song, is most sensitively portrayed without ever forgetting this is a show all about the fabulous music.   

With outstanding performances from the entire cast, great dance moves and a superb band, this is a quality show. Immensely likeable and charismatic A J Jenks is perfectly cast and captures the essence of Buddy Holly, with a convincing, faultless, note perfect performance. Joshua Barton is full of dedication and energy as The Big Bopper and brings the house down with some fun audience participation when he performs Chantilly Lace. Miguel Angel smashes it as Ritchie Valens and his super performance of the timeless, feel good La Bamba goes down a treat!

With an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end, huge congratulations to the cast and production team! Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is a show with a song for all – you will leave the theatre with a smile on your face and a spring in your step!

“Go tell your friends to come on down because Buddy Holly is back in town!”

An inspiring, fabulous 24 carat gold disc of a show, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is a must-see!

Rating: 5/5

Tickets cost from £13 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is at the Regent Theatre in Stoke from 18-22 February 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/regent-theatre or call the box office on 0844 871 7649.

Regent Theatre, Piccadilly, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 1AP | 0844 871 7649

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