Review: Back to the Future the Musical at Manchester Opera House

PUBLISHED: 17:37 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:03 17 March 2020

Roger Bart as Doc Brown and Olly Dobson as Marty McFly in Back to the Future
credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Roger Bart as Doc Brown and Olly Dobson as Marty McFly in Back to the Future credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

COPYRIGHT SEAN EBSWORTH BARNES 2019

Absolutely brilliant, Back to the Future the Musical is an experience you simple have to have

Rosanna Hyland as Lorraine Baines and Hugh Coles as George McFly in Back to the Future
credit Sean Ebsworth BarnesRosanna Hyland as Lorraine Baines and Hugh Coles as George McFly in Back to the Future credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

This musical version of the iconic 80s film Back to the Future is without doubt the best thing I have seen this year. It is, in short, absolutely and wholly brilliant.

Every single element is slick, clever, funny, smart, breathtaking and would bear more than a single visit during its world premier run in Manchester.

Let’s start with the script. Not a word out of place and not a joke unloved. Rather than staying too fixedly true to the original, the writing team have taken a fond look back at the 1980’s and found the fun in the decade that can only be found once it’s all over. They have also given Doc Brown a warmer, funnier and slightly less irritating character – humanised him a little, perhaps. They’ve stripped out anything not vital to the storyline and every word uttered is necessary, no fluff. The songs help the storyline along just right. They are none of them there just because it’s a musical “here’s a musical interlude and we’ll get back to the story in a minute”; each one moves the story on, giving greater depth to the character or providing more hilarity. Doc Brown’s main number, It Works, is superb – and the sudden arrival of a troop of dancing girls acknowledged in the best way ever.

Now, the cast. I don’t know how long they took to cast this, but they have nailed it. Roger Bart, as Doc Brown, is perfection. You can see precisely why he’s won so many awards, including two Tony Awards. He has it all – presence, voice, character and the moves too. Being Marty McFly against Bart’s Doc Brown is a tough task, but Olly Dobson steps up well. His McFly is a little more dry and less excitable than the original, and he wisely lets Bart just get on with it in their scenes together, which is entertaining in itself. George McFly is played by Hugh Coles in his first professional stage role and oh my, is he a talent to watch! Every aspect of his role is superb – from voice to physicality. He’s the ultimate dork and the audience adored him.

Finally – the special effects. Mind blowing good! Every aspect is amazing. The car pops up out of nowhere, sets appear as if by magic, the lighting is awesome, the set juts right out over the first rows of the audience, with a lighting set-up that is extraordinary.

It seems that there has been no aspect of this show that has not been given intense scrutiny and the question asked – “how can we make this better”, until the answer is, “we can’t.” In no way do you need to know the film to enjoy the show. I did, and loved the clever references and new twists, but my husband has never seen it (how? How has he managed to miss that show, as a teen in the 80’s?!) and not once felt as if he was missing something.

Go, enjoy, thank me later.

Back to the Future the Musical runs at Manchester Opera House until 17th May

https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/back-to-the-future-the-musical/opera-house-manchester/

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