20th Century Boy | G Live | Saturday 10 March 2018
**** Celebrating the life and legacy of a Legend
20th Century Boy | Review
This was the musical I was born to review. Having heard the music of Marc Bolan since I danced myself right out the womb, I was really excited to see the life and legacy of a truly unique music icon celebrated on stage. My father was such an avid fan, that he bestowed me with the middle name of Marc… Marc with a c at the end, very important.
I’ve seen the official tribute band of T.Rex, T.Rextasy on three occasions, so I was really intrigued to see how the music compared, alongside the story of Marc Bolan’s life, and it certainly did not disappoint.
Firstly, the casting for a production of this scale is so key, as to recreate the talent of such an individual is a steep task. I was so pleased when Olivier award-winner George Maguire stepped out on the stage and started performing. The show opens with the catchy tune Metal Guru, and from this moment on George captures the essence of Marc Bolan in so many ways. Not only is he an extremely talented singer and guitarist, he really encompassed Marc in the way he spoke, from his soft voice to his roaring on stage, the attention to detail was brilliant as the production flaunts his full sense of style, (credit to the Costume Designer Clare Amos), to all of the little mannerisms.
George’s performance and the production itself grows as the show progresses to its ultimate climax and after three hours I was left wanting more, a sign of a great show.
The set cleverly incorporates two sliding walls with projections as the backdrop, which are used to set the time periods, from the music through the years to the big headlines at the time the audience are given a really good understanding of the different stages of Marc Bolan’s life and career. This moving set reflects how this production is anything but stagnant, it is bright, colourful, loud and intimate where it needs to be. It was such a joy to watch the story unfold, I learnt so much about many aspects of Marc’s journey from his family life at home, to his relationships with his wife June Child and later lover Gloria Jones, his bandmates and even more important his record producer Tony Visconti.
There was such an interesting dynamic from when he was a rising star being scouted to when he became a huge success and how that began to change him towards the end of his career. The show doesn’t over glorify his abundance of talent and brilliance, it also shows his flaws and struggles, which is what makes it feel so human and real, which is vital as it is of course based on the true story.
Towards the end, I began to forget this was a show and genuinely saw Marc performing on stage. Which of course made the ending tragedy even more emotional. But this show is a celebration of his life, and it ends in true T.Rex style with a number of songs that got the entire full house standing on their feet jamming to his biggest hits and clapping their hands.
Whether you’re a huge fan of this glam rock star, or you only know a few hits, I would highly recommend seeing 20th Century Boy as it is a detailed and emotive story combined with unforgettable music performed in style by the entire cast. It is the ultimate tribute to the Electric Warrior.
Reviewer: Stephen ‘Marc’ Sheldrake
20th Century Boy will also be appearing at:
The Churchill Theatre Bromley:
Thurs 22 – Sat 24 March
The Hawth Crawley:
Mon 14 – Wed 16 May