BRAVO Bill, bravo for this Be-Bop-a-belter of a Buddy Holly musical, jamming ‘em in at the ‘Royal’ this week, writes Paul Thomas.

Theatre Royal owner and impresario Bill Kenwright stepped in with his own, new and unique tribute to one of the great rock ‘n’ rollers of all time when the original show had to pull out at the last moment.

And what a cast, what a show, what a doo-wop wonder of a night out when six of the best performers around gave a stunned audience the sort of act you can only dream about so rave on.

Believe me, you will dancing in the aisles to every song you’ve heard on the radio from your mum’s old vinyl collection to your uncle’s precious Dansette record player.

And you are sure to witness some dad dancing too!

This is a show not to be missed.

And as well as some of the most talented musicians and singers I have met – and believe me, I’ve met and sung with a few – former Top of The Pops and Radio One DJ Mike Read was there to narrate through the great man’s life and times as we were treated to some of the best moves and grooves from the 50s and 60s.

The new show comes in two halves. Before the interval legendary DJ and star of last year’s panto Mike Read will narrated the true story of Buddy Holly as Buddy and The Crickets recreate their hits.

The second half was devoted to Buddy’s final performance at the Surf Ballroom Clear lake in Iowa before the fateful plane crash that took his life and that of Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.

This brand new show, produced exclusively for the ‘Royal’ is packed with all the greatest hits from That’ll Be The Day to It Doesn’t matter Anymore and including Rave On, Oh Boy, Peggy Sue, and of course Running Bear, La Bamba, Chantilly Lace, Runaround Sue, Teenager In Love and so many, many more.

One of the West End’s favourite “Buddy’s” Ed Handoll revives his starring role here in Windsor, where he is backed by his famous Crickets.

In the second half the Surf Ballroom concert included featured sets from Dion and the Belmonts, The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and of course Buddy Holly.

Handoll is electric as Holly with moves, gestures and looks that really portray how the man was loved before his untimely death.

But it is his guitar playing that sets this room on fire. Licks, flicks and the very essence of Holly leaves you in no doubt that you are in a very special place for a great night away from the tellybox.

Patrick Burbridge as the Big Bopper is frighteningly brilliant as is Sandy Grigelis as Valens.

This is a tour de force of up front, in your face musical magic.

Joey Ellis as Dion Di Mucci with his Belmonts was a hit with the fans of this genre.

With Andrew Joseph on drums and Sheridan Lloyd on keyboards as well as acting as the show MD, what you have is a match made in musical heaven.

These lads have come together to create a sound many of us can only imagine being able to play. Tight, slick with dualling guitars, this is right up there for enjoyment and is an Easter basket full of cracking good hits.

Bravo Bill, bravo. Ditch the tellybox and get yourselves down to the right rockin’ ‘Royal’ for a gig you will be told about for years to come.

Buddy Holly, Theatre Royal Windsor, until Saturday, April 7. Box office: 01753 853888.