Telling the tale of glam rock legend Marc Bolan, 20th Century Boy is a soulful, energetic romp spanning four decades and telling the life story of the iconic singer whose life was tragically cut short just days before his 30th birthday.
Writer Peter Rowe tells the story through the eyes of Bolan’s son Rolan who was just short of his second birthday when his father sadly passed away in a car accident in which Rolan’s mother Gloria was driving and was also badly injured. We follow a now grown up Rolan as he takes a journey of discovery flying from his native LA to London to find out who exactly his famous father really was. Gary Lloyd’s staging allows the production to slip effortlessly between the past and the present as the cast bring to life the swinging sixties of Bolan’s teenage year’s right through to his hedonistic high life at the height of his fame.
Warren Sollars has the tough job of taking on the role of the much loved Bolan and does so exceptionally well; he’s got the swagger and vulnerability of Bolan just right as well as sounding incredible too. Sollars is accompanied by an exceptionally talented cast in particular Bolan’s two leading ladies, June Child played beautifully by Lucy Sinclair and Gloria Jones, portrayed brilliantly by the soulful Donna Hines.
Diego Pitarch’s set and costume design reflects the decades perfectly, with a very welcome touch of offering free feather boa’s to the appreciative audience. There’s some great projection design from Will Duke which really adds to the atmosphere of the piece, beaming images of events from decades gone by.
Bolan’s life story had some amazing highs and ultimately some horribly tragic lows, as well as the fun of recreating T-Rex performances which immediately have the audience on their feet dancing to Get It On, Hot Love and 20th Century Boy, the softer more emotional scenes also make great use of Bolan’s back catalogue using the more touching and poignant songs Teenage Dream and Dandy in the Underworld allowing the songs take on an almost autobiographical feel.
This show will have you both dancing in the aisles and humming T-Rex tunes for days afterwards, a hugely entertaining production that will no doubt kept the music of Bolan and T-Rex alive for a whole new generation.
20th Century Boy
The Opera House