Latest Review – Back To the Future The Musical [Opera House, Manchester]

Olly Dobson as Marty McFly in Back to the Future © Sean Ebsworth Barnes


Opera House, Manchester

Until Sunday 17th May 2020

Following years of rumours and speculation, the long awaited world premiere of Back To The Future – The Musical has finally arrived, and following the likes of Bat Out of Hell – The Musical and & Juliet, Manchester gets it first once again in another major theatrical coup for the city.

Based on the much loved 1985 sci-fi movie classic, and brought to the stage by the original creative team of writer and producer Bob Gale and director and co-writer Robert Zemeckis – along with the Grammy-winning pairing of Alan Silvestri (music) and Glen Ballard (lyrics) – director John Rando’s thrilling, high energy production – enhanced by some intricate design and FX work – is nothing short of outstanding, and an expertly crafted reinvention of the fan-favourite film, sure to win over even the most hardcore BTTF super fans.

There are a few fresh new tweaks and changes from the original, predominantly to simplify the staging at times and negate the needed for excessive (and really unnecessary) scene changes, but nothing that dramatically changes the tone of the piece, or the storyline. Having original creators Gale and Zemeckis at the helm ensures a sense of authenticity throughout, despite the alterations.

Outstanding central performances from Olly Dobson as the iconic Marty Mcfly, a magnificent Roger Bart as the equally iconic Doc Brown, and a fabulous Hugh Coles as Marty’s dorky yet loveable father George, alongside Rosanna Hyland as Marty’s mother Lorraine, a show-stopping Cedric Neal as future mayor Goldie Wilson, and a faultless supporting ensemble really help breath new life and energy into these much loved characters.

Silvestri and Ballard’s original songbook is packed with dynamic, fun-filled numbers that effectively blend with Silvestri’s nostalgic original score and the classic rock and roll tracks as heard in the film, i.e. The Power of LoveJohnny B. Goode, etc. Will those songs stand the test of time on their own, outside of the musical? Who knows! However, they are cleverly written, nicely staged, and work well in the context of the show, as they should.

It is clear that an awful lot of hard work has gone into making this production the exhilarating success it is, and with slick direction, incredibly detailed set and costume designs, dazzling effects, immersive projections and illusions (notably around the DeLorean and the lighting storm), scarily accurate performances (particularly Dobson and Coles), and strong choreography courtesy of Chris Bailey – all coming together with great effect – Back To The Future – The Musical is intoxicating theatrical entertainment at its most effective.

The Back To The Future musical may have arrived five years after Gale and Zemeckis originally slated – due to various issues and setbacks – but it has most definitely been worth the wait as this world premiere production is an absolute triumph.

The show is said to be transferring to the West End following the Manchester premiere, but with no London dates yet announced, and the Opera House being kept free for a possible extension, audiences must set a date for Manchester to see this major new world premiere production while they can.

Running Time: 2 hours and 30-minutes (approx.), including one 20-minute interval.

Final Performance at the Opera House, Manchester: Sunday 17th May 2020.

For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.

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