MusicalNorth WestReview

Back To The Future: The Musical – Manchester Opera House

Reviewer: Kiefer Lewis

Writer: Bob Gale & Robert Zemeckis

Music/Lyrics:  Alan Silvestri & Glenn Ballard

Lyrics: Alan Silvestri & Glenn Ballard

Director: John Rando

Back To The Future: The Musical makes its eagerly anticipated stage debut in front of a capacity crowd buzzing with excitement. The opening exchange of classic 80s music, visuals, and electronic effects draws the audience in, in an instant and keeps them hooked from start to finish. Heavily influenced and led by its world-renowned movie narrative, maintained classic characters and plot are injected with some fresh, individual quirks and ideas that satisfy both the diehard Back To The Future fans, and theatre enthusiasts alike.

Following the adventure of Marty McFly, a rock ‘n roll enthused teenager, who in an emergency, uses scientist friend Doc Brown’s car which turns out to be a time machine and ends up in 1955 (30 years in the past). Marty finds himself playing cupid in his parent’s love story to prevent his own existence being erased, and get ‘Back To The Future’ where he came from, rewriting history and maintaining the space-time continuum.

Creatively from top to tail the production is exquisite. From Bob Gale & Robert Zemecki’s writing – to Alan Silvestri & Glenn Ballard’s music and lyrics, there’s a fine blend that sends you on a journey ebbing and flowing like a rollercoaster ride, culminating with an intense and enthralling finale that has everyone on the edge of their seats in anticipation, and a climax that brings them collectively to their feet in delight. Chris Bailey’s superb choreography must also not go unnoticed, capturing both the time of the piece and adding high octane energy throughout.

Amid the intensity, is solid comic relief from excellently written moments and the incredible performances by Roger Bart (Doc Brown) whose timing and intricacy is impeccable, and Hugh Coles (George McFly). Coles managed to fuse both classic characteristics from the movie counterpart of George, while adding his own distinct and unique quips to the role, creating a deeply endearing and lovable character the audience gets behind. So much so, in a personal highlight of the show, George punches Biff, his lifelong bully, which was met by loud cheers and rapturous applause from the audience. Olly Dobson’s interpretation of Marty McFly also caught the eye with golden nuggets of the classic character we know, and an incredible energy that sets the tempo throughout.

In addition to the stand-out performances, the biggest star of the show was the DeLorean time machine and spectacular special effects that defy belief. The fine detail in projections, visuals, and use of a rotating stage created a pedal to the metal atmosphere that had hearts racing faster than 88 miles per hour.

Back To The Future: The Musical is innovative, revolutionary and has the humour and charm to captivate audiences. With a song list and choreography to lead the way. It is a masterclass in stagecraft and technical design and brings the brilliance of an 80s classic speeding into the 21st Century.

Runs until: Sun 17th May 2020

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The Reviews Hub - North West

The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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