Posts Tagged ‘rock n roll’


As the subtitle suggests, this musical tells the story of Buddy Holly – or at least the story of his rise to fame, for the show starts while Buddy is looking for a record deal. Naturally it contains all his most famous songs, and given just how well known and loved those songs are, it must be a daunting task to take on the role.

Full disclosure here – I probably would not have gone to see this show if I hadn’t been taking my mother, who really likes Buddy Holly’s music, given that she spent much of her youth listening to it. But along I went, looking forward to an enjoyable afternoon, and I have to say this show delivered enjoyment by the bucketload. Alex Fobbester played Buddy (he alternates performances with Glen Joseph), and he was absolutely fantastic. Like the rest of the cast, Fobbester played his instruments live during the performance  and they did full and complete justice to the songs.

The story charts his career, taking in his marriage to Maria Elena, and his fallout with backing band The Crickets.

The second half of the show is given over to a performance of touring show that Holly was doing with The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens when all three were killed in a plane crash in 1959. This gives Thomas Mitchells and Jordan Cunningham playing Big Bopper and Valens respectively the chance to shine, as they perform those singers’ most famous songs – Chantilly Lace (Big Bopper) and La Bamba (Valens) – and they both thrilled the crowd.

The entire audience were up on their feet clapping along by the end of the show, with many of us dancing in the aisles. The standing ovation that the cast received at the end was very well deserved. And me? I am most definitely a Buddy Holly convert, and am in fact sitting typing this with Buddy Holly’s music playing in the background. For a career that last less than two years, this man gave the world of music a precious gift and a lasting influence. Whether you are a Buddy fan or not, I strongly recommend this show.

For anyone who is interested, here is a list of songs that feature in this production:

Rose of Texas

Rip It Up

Changing all those Changes

That’s Be the Day

You’ve Got Love

Brown Eyed Handsome Man



Not Fade Away

Peggy Sue

Words of Love

Oh Boy

Listen to Me

Think it Over

Well Alright

True Love Ways

It’s So Easy

Why Do Fools Fall In Love?

Chantilly Lace

Maybe Baby

Peggy Sue Got Married


La Bamba

Raining In My Heart

It Doesn’t Matter Anymore

Rave On

Johnny B. Goode





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This 1956 comedy stars Tom Ewell as showbiz agent Tom Miller. He is approached by ‘Fats’ Murdock (Edmund O’Brien), a gangster who wants Miller to turn Murdock’s girlfriend, Jerri Jordan (Jayne Mansfield) into a singing star. There’s just a couple of problems – Jerri can’t sing, and she doesn’t actually want to be a star. And then there’s the growing attraction between her and Tom…

This film is basically a light-hearted comedy, with plenty of great rock ‘n’ roll music thrown in. In truth, the plot is pretty thin – it’s really just an excuse to showcase some songs from the likes of Little Richard, Fats Domino, The Platters and more.

I quite enjoyed it, but it’s not a film I would rush to watch again. Tom Ewell is actually more sympathetic in this role than in The Seven Year Itch, where he starred opposite Marilyn Monroe, although The Girl Can’t Help It is nowhere near as entertaining as that film, which was released just a year before this one. Jayne Mansfield is fine – and actually very funny – as Jerri Jordan, and her figure in a tight red dress that she wears in the film has to be seen to be believed! However, I found Edmund O’Brien quite irritating; he was just very shouty and over-the-top. I accept that this is a comedy and the character is supposed to be something of a stereotype, but he grated on my nerves after a (short) while.

Nonetheless, this is quite an entertaining caper, with a predicatable ending, and some great music. Worth watching once, especially for fans of the rock ‘n’ roll genre.

Year of release: 1956

Director: Frank Tashlin

Writers: Garson Kanin (book), Frank Tashlin, Herbert Baker

Main cast: Tom Ewell, Jayne Mansfield, Edmund O’Brien

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