REVIEW: Buddy, Mayflower


Posted by News Editor

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Winchester Today Rock ‘n’ Rolls with Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story – at the Mayflower

By Kevin Gover :: News Editor
12 January 2017

3 February, 1959. A day that will always be prominent in the world of pop music – the day that a plane crash meant that Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper left us on ‘The Day The Music Died’. The crash even had a song written about it. You know the one!

Part of the joy (and it WAS a joy) of watching shows like this is how a story of somebody’s life can (1): tell you something that you may not have realised or forgotten about – and (2): remind you of someone’s talent. Many, many memories came flooding back last night, not least with the songs. Was Buddy Holly really involved with THAT many songs? (yes!) – was his career THAT short? (yes!) – was he only 22 when he died? Again – yes.

Although I’m knocking on a bit and already have a 37-year career in radio behind me, I was one of the youngest in the audience last night – and I suddenly realised that all this happened before I was even born. Those around me were the very teenagers that Buddy Holly sang to back in the late 50s.  How many of them, I wondered, had actually seen Buddy Holly back in the day, in the flesh – perhaps at the Gaumont in Southampton on 3 March, 1958? Or perhaps at the Gaumont in Salisbury on 22 March, 1958? There were three shows apparently on that day – 2:30pm, 6:20pm and 8:30pm.

The show itself recreates faithfully how Buddy moved from radio shows to recording contracts, and how he overcame his creative differences to get the sound he wanted. The show is FUN, not least because of the multi-talented people on stage who all appear to be able to act, sing AND play an instrument.


Buddy himself is played by the amazing Glen Joseph. He normally sports a beard in real life, but hey – shave it off, stick on the glasses and the resemblance is uncanny. Glen is backed up with incredible musicians (Josh Haberfield who plays ‘Cricket’ Jerry Allison is an amazing drummer) – and actors who double up on parts. They all gel as a team.


Thomas Mitchells (Big Bopper, pictured above) and Jordan Cunnngham (Valens, pictured below) are both allowed to shine and interact with the audience. Miguel, Joe, Celia, Alex, Matthew and Tom – you were all great too!


The show doesn’t go over the top with gimmicks, although there are a few clever lighting illusions with the marriage scene – (special mention here to Kerry Low, who’s making her professional UK theatre debut and how plays Buddy’s wife.) No, it’s the music that’s important in this show.


Stand-out moments for me included the best live version I have EVER heard of ‘Not Fade Away’ – and you could have heard a pin drop during the acoustic version of ‘True Love Ways’ which is pictured below. Hello, was that something in my eye…?


The show ends with a mini-concert, imagined as how it would have been on his last night with us. By this moment, the Mayflower audience was buzzing. At the end, Glen Joseph had a smile on his face as wide as the Mayflower stage itself. It seems a great pity for future fans of this show that this is Glen’s last tour. However, he does continue to play gigs around the world with his own band – perhaps you can save up and get him and his band to play at your wedding?!

Buddy is at the Mayflower until Saturday 14 January and then continues until September around the UK. Places visited up until the end of February 2017 include Cheltenham, Wimbledon, Wolverhampton, Rhyl, Sunderland, Belfast, Blackpool and Edinburgh.