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20th Century Boy the Musical

Published by: Trevor Gent on 22nd Jun 2018 | View all blogs by Trevor Gent

20th Century Boy, a musical inspired by the life of rock legend Marc Bolan, to mark the 40th anniversary of the iconic star’s untimely death. Featuring classic T.Rex 70s hits Ride a White Swan, Metal Guru, I Love to Boogie, 20th Century Boy and many more.

Starting at 8pm this is a long show for a work night, the first act is over an hour and the second act is 80 minutes long, making a late finish, maybe a more sensible start would have been 7.30pm?

Had Marc Bolan lived he would have been 71 this September. Sadly he died in a car crash when only twenty nine though which is where the show starts. It then goes back and charts his life from adolescence, thorough his early career, falling in love and marrying and the trials and tribulations of his life. It shows just how much he fitted into his short life. 

You have to be a fan of Marc Bolan to stick with it and sadly, although I was a fan, one of the first records I bought was Metal Guru, we had to slip out before the end. The theatre cooling system was on full blast and there was not enough bodies producing heat to counteract the cold. The show certainly packs a lot in, as you can see from the length of it, and there are laughs and tears along the way. The fairly simple staging with a back screen projecting images worked mostly quite well but I found the clips of video accompanied by loud music at various times annoying.

As for the performances both actors playing the younger and older Marc Bolan were very good indeed, and I was particularly impressed with the singing voice of Marc’s love interest when he had finally made it in the states. It is maybe forgotten today just how successful he was at that time selling over 60,000 records a day. If you fancy a trip down memory lane then this could be for you. However, you will have to be quick as not so many dates left.

Still playing at the Wycombe Swan tonight and tomorrow and then the York Barbican between 24th and 26th June and Chelmsford Civic between 28th and 30th June.

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