Whenever a huge star passes, there’s a wealth of opportunity to tell their life story. Some are incredibly interesting, whilst others would be better left untold. The mystery surrounding the life of Marc Bolan seems to fall somewhere in the middle. Still, that’s where 20th Century Boy comes in, to fill in the gaps of knowledge for Bolan’s super fans, and to disperse of any rumours or myths that had surrounded the performer. Yes, he did die just two weeks before his 30th birthday, but that’s not the most interesting part of Bolan’s life.

Marc Bolan's brought back to life in 20th Century Boy

Marc Bolan's brought back to life in 20th Century Boy

As a child, Marc was a dreamer, unwilling to go down the route of picking up a “normal” job and instead being convinced that success was always just around the corner. As we know, he would eventually turn out to be correct in his assumptions, but not before a lot of hard work and consistent picking away at the industry that seemed to throw everything back in his face at every opportunity. Though he’s an arrogant man, he’s somebody the audience immediately want to root for. Whether that’s to do with his impact on the music industry, or him just being a genuinely likeable person, will differ on exactly who you ask.

George Maguire is the performer tasked with bringing Bolan back from the grave, and he’s actually the perfect fit. His voice isn’t identical to that of the glam rocker, but it’s as close as one could get. Combining that with his quirky on-stage presence and charisma is the perfect recipe to ensuring Bolan is brought to life successfully.

Maguire’s not alone in his talents. Sarah Moss provides exceptional vocals whenever she’s allowed to let her voice be heard in the role of Bolan’s first wife June Child, and her pain and anguish feels more genuine than most when she realises her relationship with Bolan is coming to an end. The reason for that is Bolan’s new lover, Gloria Jones.

Ellena Vincent is the woman tackling Jones, and she excels on every level. Bringing Bolan away from the allure of drugs and alcohol after falling pregnant, she seems to be the perfect fit for the mess of a life he creates for himself in his later years, despite enjoying a relationship with him behind the back of his wife. Though she’s “the other woman”, you can’t help but cheer her on.

Whilst the writing of 20th Century Boy does let down its infectious cast at times, as well as a set that feels incredibly clunky and at times, robotic, the show is saved by its music. The impact that T.Rex and Bolan have had upon the world is undoubtable, and for anybody who has questioned that in the past, this production will force a new appreciation of the tunes that run deeply throughout it.

Jukebox shows are all the rage right now, but you’ll be hard pressed to find one as energetic as this. Whether I Love To Boogie, Get It On, or Children Of The Revolution is being played, you’ll find yourself grooving in your seat – or even ripping it up on your feet as part of the show’s encore. There were times when the singing was drowned out by the band however, so a bit of tweaking of sound ahead of future shows wouldn’t go amiss.

With quite a bit of polish around the show’s script, including a shortened first act, this could be something special. It’s certainly watchable, and we imagine Bolan super fans would want to go back time and again, but as it stands, 20th Century Boy is just a good thing. Not an excellent one.

20th Century Boy runs at the Opera House in Manchester until April 21, 2018.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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