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Back to The Future The Musical Review: Powered by 1.21 gigawatts of AWESOME

Editor choice Back to The Future The Musical Review: Powered by 1.21 gigawatts of AWESOME
10 Total Score
  • It's Back to the Future!
  • Entire cast brilliant
  • Sets/effects superb
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I’m not one for musicals, and this is a tech review site, but I do love Back to the Future, it’s one of my all-time favourite films.  So news that a musical adaptation was showing in my home town of Manchester was too tempting to pass up.

  • When: Thursday 27th February 2020
  • Where: Manchester Opera House
  • Run time: c3 hours with an interval

The show is staying in Manchester for 12 weeks.

What is Back to the Future The Musical?

Exactly what you’d expect, a musical adaptation of the original film by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale.  Like the film it tells the story of Marty ‘Kelvin Kline’ McFly as he accidentally travels back in time from 1985 to 1955 and accidentally interrupts his parents meeting.  It appears to have been a long time coming, according to Wikipedia information Bob Gale was talking about this as far back as 2004.

“It seems like Back to the Future would make a great Broadway show. So someday, maybe that’ll happen. That’s something I’d like to see.”

Bob Gale, Wikipedia

The stage adaptation sticks closely to the film, often using the same dialogue, but makes a few tweaks and changes to accommodate being performed on a theatre stage.  For example, it’s not overly practical to have the initial time travel experiment interrupted by terrorists who fire rocket launchers and so the catalyst for Marty’s trip in time has been redone. 

I won’t go into details on these changes as one of the enjoyable aspects of seeing the musical is seeing how a familiar story has been adjusted, the destination is the same, it’s just that different paths are taken to reach it. With it being a musical the cast are prone to bursting out into singing, not something seen in the movie version, but the adaptation works really well and there is a lot of humour added, for example, Marty asking Doc who all the dancers are and his reply is he has no idea, they just show up.  They have a lot of fun with similar audience jokes about it being a musical throughout, the humour is spot on and never fell flat.

Who is the cast in Back to the Future The Musical?

CharacterManchester Cast
Marty McFly
Olly Dobson
Dr. Emmett BrownRoger Bart
George McFlyHugh Coles
Lorraine Baines-McFlyRosanna Hyland
Goldie Wilson/Marvin BerryCedric Neal
Biff TannenAidan Cutler
Jennifer ParkerCourtney-Mae Briggs
Gerald StricklandMark Oxtoby
Dave McFlyWill Haswell
Linda McFlyEmma Lloyd

This is the cast I had the pleasure of seeing at the Manchester Opera House. It’s fair to say every actor playing an iconic well-known character faces a challenge, those of us that have watched the film a few (OK, OK, a LOT!) of times know how each look and sound, the way they move and the pattern of speech. If the cast get that wrong and it would break down the space-time-story-continuum.

Fear not, the cast, both main and support, are fantastic.  Olly Dobson nails the voice of Marty, Rosanna Hyland is a brilliant Lorraine Baines-McFly, but the real scene-stealing star of the show is Huge Coles as George McFly, who I’m convinced is actually Crispin Glover brought forward in time so brilliant is he as George McFly.

Doesn’t BTTF have a car in it?

Yes, it does and so too does the musical version. In fact, there are a number of brilliant special effects that keep this true to the film. A clever combination of live-action props, animated projection and the brilliant soundtrack bring many of the icon scenes alive on stage.

The car is especially effective, ‘driving’ around the stage, hitting 88MPH, crashing into Old Man Peabody’s barn, all on a theatre stage, and that’s just one of many brilliant scenes. It’s an amazing achievement for the set/special FX designers and one that helps this be a lot more attractive to mainstream audiences.

Musical Track Listing

  • It’s Only a Matter of Time
  • Wherever We’re Going
  • Hello – Is Anybody Home?
  • It Works
  • Cake and Eat It Too
  • Good at Being Bad
  • Gotta Start Somewhere
  • My Myopia
  • Pretty Baby
  • Future Boy
  • Hill Valley High School Fight Song
  • Something About That Boy
  • 21st Century
  • Put Your Mind To It
  • For the Dreamers
  • Deep Diving
  • Earth Angel
  • Johnny B. Goode
  • The Power of Love
  • Back in Time

Should I go and see Back to The Future The Musical?

To help you decide please follow my handy guide below.

Back to the Future Decision Tree

I’m not usually one for musicals but this was a brilliant show. The entire audience loved it, it’s family-friendly, and the cast gained a well-deserved standing ovation. The story stays true to the original film, the effects are fantastic for a live show and the songs are well-paced and add to the overall story rather than interrupt it.

If you haven’t already, book tickets to see this show!

10 Total Score
Powered by 1.21 gigawatts of AWESOME

If you haven't already, book tickets to see this show!

PROS
  • It's Back to the Future!
  • Entire cast brilliant
  • Sets/effects superb
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Mark J Draper is a self-confessed gadget lover who forged a career in the telecommunication and utility industry while maintaining a hobby of writing and filming reviews that are published on YouTube and Reviewify.co.uk.