20th Century Boy

Terry Wills watches the new musical dealing with the life of glam rocker Marc Bolan.

I’ll start with an admission. I knew very little about the theatrical life story of Marc Bolan, who back in the seventies was recognised as being the musical front man of popular band T Rex until he was tragically killed in a car crash just two weeks short of his thirtieth birthday.

This touring production, prior to a prized West End opening, has been well received and, for devotees of the rock era appears certain to have box offices extremely busy. Basically it tells the story through the eyes of his son Rolan who, being a youngster at the time, knew little or nothing of his famous father’s fame.  His father’s many and varied changes of image, from the early hippy days to his reign as the king of glam rock, were unknown to Rolan so he sets out to discover Marc’s career path, unearthing many unknown facts along the way.

What I did find pleasing was the volume of the production. Not overwhelming, with his classic hits including Get it On, Ride a White Swan, Hot Love, and the one that had patrons dancing along, I Love to Boogie, complimenting the story rather than dominating.

Set changes are clever and not overdone. Combined with the individual performances, 20th Century Boy makes for a very entertaining evening.

Leading roles are played by Sue Jenkins, Luke Bailey and as Marc Bolan, an eye catching performance from Warren Sollars. All convey the power that Bolan held over his audiences, and when it
reaches the West End I feel it can only be a smash hit musical that will leave this seventies icon  with many more recent converts.

20th Century Boy is at the New Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 3rd May http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/20th-century-boy/