Rocketman, the Elton John fantasy biopic

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Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and artslink.co.za and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years.
Robyn Sassen

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COCK a hoop: Taron Egerton is Elton John in ‘Rocketman’. Photograph courtesy wmagazine

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MUSICAL BIOPICS ARE always complicated and oft dangerous affairs. They may be about not letting the facts get in the way of a good yarn, as they may find themselves compromised by a quest to find actors who look the part rather than have the skills or the soul. And then, what is their value from an historical or a documentary point of view? Are they just about entertainment? In making Rocketman, the tribute to British-born rock star Elton John, into a fantasy musical, its director Dexter Fletcher forces the project to leap over the complexities of earnest documentary truth and ramp up the camp as far as it will go.

And thus Rocketman reaches beyond the limitations of Bohemian Rhapsody. While Taron Egerton in the role of John as an adult, has a gap in his two front teeth (emulating the dental structure of John) added with some careful make up, he doesn’t pose the same credibility issues as…

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