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Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story - Derngate, Northampton Review

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story arrives in Northampton as part of the shows 30th-anniversary tour.

The 30th Anniversary Production Artwork
The hit stage show is part musical theatre and part concert. Telling the of the rise and ultimately tragic demise of Buddy Holly. As tragic as the singer's fate is this show is a wonderful tribute and celebration of Buddy's short career and of the songs that still stand the test of time.

It's really not hard to see why this show has lasted and celebrated its 30 year with this new production. An appreciative audience on a Monday night in Northampton sang, clapped and danced their way through the performance. The show soundtrack is full of the classic songs that made Buddy Holly the original king of rock and roll. Numbers like "That'll Be the Day", "Peggy Sue" and "Oh Boy" are lapped up. Making the audience part of the show as the concert audience with plenty of interaction is a masterstroke.
Previous Company of Buddy.
An excellent performance by Christopher Weeks as Buddy Holly (the role is shared by Christopher and AJ Jenks) leads the show. I'm far too young to have been around during Buddy Holly's short heyday but watching Christopher is as close I'll ever get. Hearing the iconic songs sung by Christopher's magnificent voice is a delight too. If Buddy Holly was still with us he'd be very proud of the way Christopher plays him.

The show is very much an ensemble piece with all the company playing the music live too and what a sound they make. Joe Butcher (Joe B. Mauldin), Josh Haberfield (Jerry Allison) and AJ Jenks (Niki Sullivan) are superb as the three bandmates that make up the Crickets.

Joshua Barton (The Big Bopper) and Ben Pryer (Ritchie Valens) are both tremendous in the second act. More fine vocals. Hannah Price (Maria Elena Holly) beautifully brings Buddy Holly's wife to life. Harry Boyd does a great job of playing multiple roles, all easily distinguishable as different, quite a feat.

Miguel Angel, who has played over 1500 performances with the show, delivers a superb performance of "Reet Petite" during the Apollo sequence. Cartier Fraser and Sasah Latoya also both shine in the Apollo sequence.

The show inspired the modern jukebox musicals such as Mamma Mia, We Will Rock You and Jersey Boys, this might be the original and the best of them.

It may be 60 years since Buddy Holly's tragic death, aged just 22, but on this evidence, his legacy is alive and well. A rock and roll smash-hit.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story plays at Northampton's Derngate Theatre until Saturday 14th September 2019. Visit to book. The 30th Anniversary tour has dates currently booking until June 2020. To see all further dates visit

Jordan Cunningham (Richie Vallens) in
a previous production of Buddy.


  1. Another excellent review Mark. My kind of show for sure!

  2. If off to see This at The Derngate this Thursday



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