Theatre and Dance
David Ephgrave as Buddy Holly
Hitchin comedy duo Doggett and Ephgrave have been involved with 'Buddy Holly and the Cricketers' for years, and they’re bringing it to the Hitchin Festival!
Following its success at the Market Theatre last year, the long-time touring show 'Buddy Holly and The Cricketers' is returning to Hitchin - for one night only - as part of this year's Hitchin Festival - and this time it’s moved down the road to the larger Queen Mother Theatre.
For nearly 20 years 'Buddy Holly and the Cricketers' has been a hit all over the world, and for the past five of those, David Ephgrave has been playing the title role. For four of those, his friend and comedy partner Glyn Doggett has been the Company Manager, or “flashing the lights a bit and making the tea!”
Glyn Doggett and David Ephgrave
Described as a fast, furious and funny rock 'n' roll concert it always has audiences up on their feet, dancing in the aisles and features all of Buddy's greatest hits including 'That'll Be The Day', 'Heartbeat', 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore', 'Raining in my Heart', 'Oh Boy!' - and many more.
Many people will have heard of Buddy: The Musical and this show did indeed start out as a subsidiary of that production, a kind of corporate version of it, but now it’s a separate entity. David explained how it is different:
“When you go and see Buddy you get his life story” he said, “but Buddy Holly and the Cricketers is more like if he was alive now touring with a band, this is what it would be like, so it’s more like a concert.
“You still get the banter and stuff with the band but it’s just not his life story. There’s probably about 30 songs in it, something like that!
“It’s not just Buddy Holly stuff either” he added, “Elvis makes a brief appearance! Who says that he never came to the UK more than once?! So there’s a bit of him and all the rock and roll greats really, Twist and Shout, that kind of thing.”
And a show packed with classic rock and roll hits sounds like a sure-fire way to get audiences up on their feet.
“Oh yes” said Glyn, “you can almost guarantee at the end of the night that they’re all going to be up and dancing. There’s a pattern to it. In the first half they’re tapping their feet but in the second half they’re all up– whether they like it or not really!”
After five years playing Buddy, David is well practised at the role, but he admitted that it was quite daunting to start with:
“I grew up listening to his music, so I’d always known it” he said, “but that’s not the same as having to do it!
“I remember when I first started doing it, seeing all the promotional material saying ‘You won’t believe it’s not Buddy’ and thinking ‘Oh god, how am I going to live up to this?’ but you find your own way of doing it I guess.”
David also admitted that the story of Buddy and a kind of enigma surrounding him has also helped:
“People say really nice things” he continued, “they say how like him and his band we are, but I think it’s more because if you’re [playing] something like the Beatles, people know what they looked like and what they moved like.
“With Buddy it’s a little bit more obscure because he was more in that black and white era. There’s not a lot of material, you can’t see a lot of footage of him, so you get a little bit more licence.
“A lot of people tend to know about the Buddy Holly story because of the show [Buddy] and they have seen people pretend to be him rather than be him!”
Both David and Glyn trained at the Hertfordshire Theatre School and since then have been writing and performing their own comedy as well as doing other acting jobs and working in theatre. But both agree that working on the same show brings double the benefits because it allows them to work on their own comedy material at the same time.
“Me and David as the double act get to do our stuff on the road as well which is nice” said Glyn.
“Yes” agreed David, “it’s great for us. We always try and work together [if we can] because it allows us to write together.”
And Buddy Holly and the Cricketers as a show is helping the comedy pair in another way as well, because the money from this special one-of show is going to a special cause, something they call their “ever-growing Edinburgh Festival debt machine”!
“We went to Edinburgh last year with a show that we’d written” he said, “and we did the Buddy Holly show at the Market Theatre in Hitchin to raise money for that Edinburgh show. But Edinburgh is quite an expensive thing, so a year on we’re still raising money!
“This [one-off show] is really another way of raising money” he continued, “and it’s a great show so it’s nice that people aren’t just giving us money, they’re giving money to watch a great show.
“Yes” added David, “and also we’ve been very lucky in that the company who produce the show have given it to us for free and the cast are doing it for nothing. Everyone’s volunteered their time so we can give people some entertainment and raise some money as well, which is great!”
It seems that everyone will be a winner!
You can see Buddy Holly and The Cricketers at the Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin on the 29 June 2009 at 8.00pm.
Tickets are available from the Hitchin Initiative Festival Box Office: 01462 453336
last updated: 24/06/2009 at 16:21
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