Book: Peter Rowe
Music &Lyrics: Marc Bolan
Director &Choreographer: Gary Lloyd
Musical Director: Ryan Alex Farmery
Reviewer: Taylor Simmons
With a sea of feather boas lining the Opera House auditorium, it’s clear that Glam Rock legend Marc Bolan’s fan base is still very much alive. 20th Century Boy, originally produced in 2011 in Ipswich, is a musical thatcelebrates the music and life of T. Rex’s front man, Marc Bolan.
The story revolves around Bolan’s son, Rolan (played by Luke Bailey), as he embarks on a journey to discover more about his father’s life, career and ultimate early death.
Warren Sollars as Bolan is an extraordinary talent, triumphantly recreating and embodying the singer in every way. Sollars’ vocals are exquisite and he moves with ease in an array of extravagant costumes and lofty platforms. Donna Hines as Gloria Jones and Lucy Sinclair as June Child are superbly cast, supporting Sollars with vocal acrobatics, glamour and sex appeal.
But the show isn’t all about Getting It Onand Hot Love. The story navigates four decades of Bolan’s troubled life while exposing the ever-fresh wounds and grief of the family he left behind. Special mention must go to Sue Jenkins who portrays Bolan’s grief-stricken mother with a raw emotive energy as she struggles to come to terms with his tragic early death.
The production, staged by Gary Lloyd (Thriller Live), is a visual treat too. From complex dance routines, to original footage of T-Rex projected onto the set, this musical ticks all the boxes. Unfortunately, a few sound issues plagued the opening night but this was later rectified and balanced as the production eased into its Manchester home for the week.
20th Century Boy recreates the energetic atmosphere of a T-Rex concert and brings you all the well-known favourites; I Love To Boogie, Metal Guru, Ride A White Swan, Children of the Revolution, Teenage Dream and many more.
You don’t need to be a fan of Bolan to appreciate this spectacle. If you love to boogie, it runs until Saturday night!
Runs until 26 April, 2014