Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Theatre Review: 20th Century Boy, New Theatre, Cardiff

Like most rock musicals that tell a story, the hook is usually the tragedy. Marc Bolan’s death in a car crash in 1977 is no exception for 20th Century Boy, but the tragic episode unfolds into a celebration of the rock icon’s life rather than a lament.

15 years later, Marc’s teenage son Rolan sets out on a journey to London to discover the truth about his father’s life. When Rolan meets his Grandmother the Marc Bolan story begins to unfold weaving effortlessly from the present day back to the 1960s and 70s.

Bolan’s compositions are used in the narrative from the ensemble cast recreating an early 60s dance hall event with We Love to Boogie to Marc’s wedding in which he duets Life s A Gas with his bride June.

The surrealism makes way for Cosmic Rock as the 70s dawn and T Rex perform Get It On and Metal Guru all tinged with the colour of a classic Top of the Pops performance.

Warren Sollars encapsulates Bolan brilliance as the troubadour poet turned electric warrior while Luke Bailey gives a sensitive performance as Rolan, the pair even sharing a magic moment dueting across the decades on Cosmic Dancer.

Similarly Lucy Sinclair as June, Sue Jenkins as Phyllis and Donna Hines as Gloria Jones create another powerful moment when they join together on Whatever Happened to the Teenage Dream?

The ultimate 70s music show, 20th Century Boy was an electrifying hit on its opening night with the audience. It continues until Saturday.

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