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Thursday, July 28, 2016


(Joshua Arnold (centre as Buddy Holly) with Rae Du Plooy, Andrew Sutton & Joshua Milne as the Crickets. Pic by Val Adamson)

A great evening of a very high standard from talented high school learners. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Buddy: the Buddy Holly Story, which opened at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre last night, begins with a vibrant dance number showcasing the undeniable talents of its high school learners who were auditioned from around KZN. From then on, it’s a great evening of a very high standard that deserves much support.

Rhythm ‘n blues legend Buddy Holly had a short but remarkable career before his tragic untimely death in an air crash. With his three-piece band, The Crickets, he became an international star before the group broke up and he formed a new band.

The show depicts the story of the star’s dogged determination to do things “his way” despite reluctance from producers and sound engineers, even to the point of refusing to take his glasses off when performing. In fact, he determined to get a more striking pair! Much amusement is to be had from the scenes in the recording studios where sometimes a number took as many as 15 takes before the indefatigable Buddy Holly was satisfied.

The cast is well-disciplined and many show the capacity of making theatre a career.

Joshua Arnold puts in a consistently strong performance as Buddy Holly with good support from Rae Du Plooy, Andrew Sutton and Joshua Milne as The Crickets. Also impressing were David van Staden as Norman Petty, Keely Krocker as Mary Lou Sokoloff and the deep-voiced Matthew Dufourq as the Big Bopper and Hipockets Duncan.

Leah Mari handled the demands required of the role of Maria Elena Santiago (Buddy Holly’s wife) with passion and just the right emotion. True Love Ways sung with Arnold was a highlight of the show. Alex van Schalkwyk gave in a knockout performance of La Bamba and there’s no doubt that he will make his name in theatre should that be his choice of career. Watch out for Joshua Milne who plays no less than five roles – he can sing, dance and act with equal professionalism!

Under musical director Dawn Selby, The Reals add back-up support from Mali Sewell, Barry Thomson, Cuan Austin and Jason van der Merwe.

The show is produced by Catalina UnLtd #MusicalTheatreAlive as part of their capacity building development programme and funded by the Ethekwini Municipality, the KZN Department of Arts & Culture, and RCL Foods.

The process has given these lucky youngsters a tremendous opportunity to work with top professionals such as director Themi Venturas; Daisy Spencer (choreographer/co-director), Des Govender (vocal coach), Megan Levy (sound engineer), Michael Broderick (lighting design) Clinton and Ronel Stevenson (AV design) and Black Coffee Productions.

Buddy: the Buddy Holly Story is presented by arrangement with DALRO and runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until August 7 with performances at 19h00. Tickets R120 booked through Computicket.

Schools performances on July 29 and August 2 and 4 at 14h30 (R50 per learner) - booking through email – Caroline Smart