ALEX Fobbester is having a week off from Buddy - and how he deserves it before making his York debut at the Grand Opera House next week.

"We've got a dark week. We were in Aylesbury last week, and now we've got time off to catch our breath," he says, kindly breaking off from his rest and recuperation to speak to The Press on Wednesday. "We started the tour last August and it's now been extended to July, so it's a long one."

It is indeed, especially when you are undertaking your first national tour, even if you are sharing the lead role of Buddy Holly with Glen Joseph. "Me and Glen are doing four shows each as Buddy, and when we're not playing Buddy we're still in the band, playing Tommy, one of the Crickets," says Alex, who is so enjoying his travels.

"The tour's been fantastic; the show's doing as well as ever in its 27th year as the first 'jukebox musical', and even now it still seems to take people by surprise that everyone's playing live on stage!

"You have these hits that everyone knows, this killer music, and then this great story of this kid from the Bible Belt in Lubbock, Texas, overcoming obstacle after obstacle, like being told you can't play your rock'n'roll music, you have to play country.

"There's something so infectious about seeing people playing flat out in a band on stage, and when you're doing the show you really get a sense of the audience rooting for Buddy and going on his fateful journey with him."

Alex must give it his all in each show, wherein Buddy relates Holly's meteoric rise and final performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, before his untimely death aged only 22, after 18 months that revolutionised contemporary music, influencing everyone from The Beatles to Bruce Springsteen.

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Alex Fobbester: the chance to play Buddy Holly is "like Rock Star In A Box," he says

"The worst part is the three minutes before you go on stage, knowing you have this huge challenge in front of you, but then you get on this rollercoaster ride and you never get off until the end and it's thrilling," he says.

"The great thing is being supported by this amazing group of actors and musicians in telling this incredible story that calls on some of them to play three or four different roles, with different accents, some playing different instruments through the show as well."

Alex, who was brought up in Kingston upon Thames and Cirencester before training at The Arts Educational Schools in London, is 23, a year older than Buddy when he died, and doing this show has made him appreciate all the more what Holly achieved in his all-too-short life.

"It's funny, I was always aware of his songs, how they were ubiquitous and part of the pop culture, but I didn't know his story, and when I started doing my research it really surprised me to learn just how influential he was, like the young John Lennon and Paul McCartney coming to see him perform at the Palladium," he says.

"I just find that meteoric rise in 18 months so extraordinary; he did everything like he knew he was running out of time, like proposing to his wife only five hours after meeting her.

"He was extinguished so young, and it's so desperately sad when I think about that at 23 myself, but he left behind an almost perfect legacy. He never had the chance to deteriorate; he was never bad to his wife; he was this perfect catalyst for the music that was to come. He set up the format of the self-contained rock'n'roll band who wrote all their own songs, whereas Elvis was recording other people's songs – though that's not to detract from what Elvis was doing!"

Alex has played the guitar since childhood days, "always being late for everything as I was jamming in my bedroom", so Buddy is a dream role. "I sing all these great songs in a great story; I get to play guitar; it's a great acting role too and I'm performing with a fantastic group of people," he says.

"It's like Rock Star In A Box, where I perform all this incredible music, run around the stage like a madman and show off a few chords, and if we get it right, I've never seen a reaction like it at any other show – and I've been to lots of shows!"

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story runs at Grand Opera House, York, March 21 to 25, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or