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THEATRE REVIEW: FTN reviews 20th Century Boy

June 3rd, 2014 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

20th Century Boy
The Grand Opera House, Belfast
Get more info and tickets here 

Inspired by the life of rock legend Marc Bolan, 20th Century Boy explodes onto the stage nearly four decades after the iconic star’s tragic death. Featuring some of the greatest pop songs ever written, 20th Century Boy tells the story of Marc Bolan and his band T.Rex, exposing some of the myths and taking the audience on a tearful, yet joyful journey through Marc’s fascinating life.

Rocker, poet, electric warrior, king of glam and godfather of punk, Bolan was arguably the biggest rock star the UK had ever seen. ‘Bigger than the Beatles’ the media said.

Before his tragic death in 1977, just days short of his 30th birthday, Bolan lived life at breakneck speed, creating a series of iconic images, a string of number one hits and an army of obsessive fans.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than 37 years since the tragic loss of Bolan, and yet his music is still as fresh now as it was ground breaking then. Now, thanks to 20th Century Boy, fans of all ages can glam rock like they always wanted to.

The show opens with a spectacular rendition of Metal Guru which really sets the mood for what the audience can expect! With thumping beats, guitar solos, permed hair, eye-shadow and those all-important platform shoes, the cast perform one 70s mega hit after another.

Warren Sollars has the image, mannerisms and laid back coolness of Marc Bolan himself, and though he doesn’t play his own guitar (well, in fairness, Marc Bolan at first didn’t play guitar either!) he does indeed on a number of occasions achieve vocal perfection!

With Marc and T-Rex belting out hits such as Get It On, Ride a White Swan, Telegram Sam, Hot Love, Cosmic Dancer to name but a few, the audience feels that the mega personality of Marc Bolan never died. The supporting cast are also accomplished singers, and perform perhaps one of the strongest dramatic pieces in the entire show, without Marc Bolan!

20th Century Boy is a musical drama and, whilst the music will have platform soles stopping in the isles, the more dramatic scenes tend to clunk along like a broken down record player. Sadly, the overall pacing of this musical drama means that it reaches the flip flops of despair to the glitzy glam hairspray highs.

The set design is very drab in that it is merely a grey multi-used backdrop that never changes. However this is in blazing contrast to a pull out stage where T-Rex, complete with red embolden sign over their heads and mega wattage lamps, pump out almost as much voltage as the amps that the guitarist rocks on.

Marc Bolan and T-Rex were mega stars of the 1970s and clearly their music still rings true to many young and old fans. Whilst the drama may be a little on the heavy-handed side, it’s the music that you will remember the most and for that all that remains to be said is… GET IT ON!

3 out of 5 Nerds

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I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.