Energetic Holly tribute is entertaining

2010-02-16 00:00


Buddy and Friends

Heritage Theatre

FIFTY-ONE years ago on February 3, 1959, the world lost a major talent when American singer and songwriter, Buddy Holly, was killed in an aeroplane crash while on a tour of the Midwest in the United States.

A pioneer of rock and roll, he died after a short-lived career alongside his friends Ritchie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

The Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest is marking the anniversary of Holly’s death with its current show, Buddy and Friends, which celebrates both his music and the influence he had on his contemporaries and artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.

Featuring John Didlick, Andrew Webster and Barry Thomson, the show is backed by musical director Dawn Selby on keyboards and ­vocals, Steve du Plessis on drums and Glen Turrell on bass guitar.

A cast of six is fairly small to handle the range of music presented but, ­despite some irritating sound problems which at times saw normally ­reliable vocalists singing off-key, the music stays true to both Holly and the modern-day versions of his songs. It makes for an energetic and highly entertaining evening.

Holly is described as “the single most influential creative force in ­early rock and roll” and was in the first group of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Sadly, his success only lasted the short space of a year and a half before his death. So, it’s good to be reminded of the legacy he left behind him, with much-loved numbers such as That’ll be the Day, Peggy Sue, Maybe Baby and Raining In My Heart.

My only quibble is the inappropriate appearance of cast members on stage before the show, setting up and checking equipment, without being hidden by curtains. In theatre, the idea is to create magic — to hide the “process” from the audience — so that when the curtains open, or the lights go up, the cast is seen in ­performance mode.

The reason for keeping the curtains open is apparently because the air-conditioning ducts are placed above the stage and free air-flow to the auditorium would be hampered in these humid months. However, a scrim stretching across the existing curtain rail would possibly solve both problems.

• Review courtesy of www.artsmart.co.za

BUDDY and Friends is at the Heritage Theatre, Hillcrest, until February 28. Tickets, including a two-course meal, cost R190 Wednesday to Saturday at 7 pm, or R160 on Tuesday at 7 pm and Sunday at 12.30 pm. Book at 031 765 4197.

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