Review by Fran Edwards
Alright, I confess, I am and always have been a Buddy Holly fan. I just missed out on getting a ticket to see him when he toured England (my Mum wouldn’t let me go)! Always been sad about that because there were no second chances.
I’m not feeling so bad now as I am sure that the man himself was lurking in the Arts Theatre while I watched Dominic Hodges channel his spirit!
The show has its problems, especially on opening night when the lack of crew backstage (and in Adelaide theatre in general) meant that scene changes had more problems than they should have. The set wasn’t one of MCMT’s best either and so the changes slowed the pace, but in the end it didn’t matter – the music rocked!
Apart from the amazing Mr Hodges, other roles were well cast. Angus Smith did his usual chameleon trick playing several roles, and making them distinct. I particularly liked him as Hipockets Duncan. Travis Rae also handled his multiple roles well, his Ritchie Valens was full of Latin life. The Big Bopper was played by Brendon Liley, sounding remarkably authentic. Holly’s Crickets were brought to life by musicians Brody Green and Milush Piochaud who also played with the band, but seemed to relish their onstage roles.
Sophie Hamilton is charming as Buddy’s young wife, Marie Elena, handling the poignant ending well. Cara Brown and Jessica Knights play the Apollo singers providing some amusement, Michelle Hutchinson is convincing as Marie’s Aunt with some solid support from the other small roles.
Emma Knights‘ band was tight and provided just the backing that was needed, good pace and a fifties sound! Tyro Director Greg Donhardt shows promise and an understanding of the material, while Victoria Beal had little opportunity to display her choreographic skills with so few dancers in the cast, but the movement was executed in style with enthusiasm.
The energy on stage was great and the scene changes will improve! Worth seeing if only for the song list and Hodges great renditions of some memorable tunes.
No Buddy your music didn’t die – it lives on!