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Five Reasons To See... 20th Century Boy

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The world première of a new musical 20th Century Boy explodes onto the Ipswich stage from tonight. It is a celebration of the life of Marc Bolan and his band T.Rex, an idea conceived by Brian Dunham, Nicky Graham and Colin Giffin. It is written by New Wolsey Theatre artistic director Peter Rowe in association with director Gary Lloyd. Brian Dunham suggests why you should see this new musical.

1. The story

Marc Bolan is a legend and as with all legends, particularly those concerning people die young, there is a lot of interest in who he was and what he represented. Bolan was the king of glam, the godfather of punk – he effectively created the glam rock era and is one of the most unique and inspirational stars in British rock music.

This musical looks behind the glitter and sequins to discover what drove the “bard of Hackney” to become “bigger than the Beatles”. It’s simply a great story told in part through the character of Rolan, Marc’s son who was only two when he died.

2. The music
Bolan wrote and recorded some of the greatest songs ever written, many of which feature in the show, including “Ride a white swan”, “Metal guru”, “Get it on”, “IlLove to boogie”, “Children of the revolution” and – of course – the title track “20th century boy”! Between 1970 and 1973 T.Rex enjoyed a run of ten consecutive UK Top Five Singles. His music is still widely used in film and on television.

3. The writing

This is the world première of a new musical, a relatively rare occurrence these days. Audiences have the opportunity to be amongst the first to see the production.

4. The legacy

For me this show is the culmination of a dream. I know Marc’s fans have waited in anticipation for this to happen and will be making their way to Ipswich in their thousands but I’m equally excited by the prospect of introducing Marc’s music to a new generation.

Marc’s legacy extends beyond the music however. He was and still is a huge influence in fashion. His flamboyance, his raw ambition his confidence and his stage presence opened the gates for many others. This show celebrates the life and legacy of a true original.

5. The Icarus factor

Marc’s rise to fame and his subsequent fall makes this a poignant tale. There are lessons to be learned from Marc’s short life and this production doesn’t ignore the darker side of his personality and the industry he worked in. His death was a massive blow to the UK music industry but it’s important to remember that he was a young man and a father. Telling this story through his son gives heart to this production and recognises the man as well as the star.

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