I call myself a Back to the Future virgin as coming to tonight's show I had absolutely no clue what it was about... I even walked past the DeLorean time machine thinking that one of the red carpet celebrities parked some random car in front of tonight's venue!
If you are a Back to the Future super fan and you've just read the previous sentence, I am sorry and please don't hate me however I have now watched the musical twice and the movie at least 5 times so you can now test me on it. I mean I can't resist seeing this musical twice so far with many more trips planned because it is just sensational!
The show is very heavily based on the movie which is set in 1985, Hill Valley where we meet a young student; Marty McFly and his wild scientist friend Emmett "Doc" Brown. Doc reveals his very recent experiment which is a time machine built from a modified DeLorean and powered by plutonium. When the radioactive plutonium leaks out on Doc, Marty attempts to get some professional help so he gets into the DeLorean time machine. Forgetting what the machine does, he find himself transported to 1955 with no plutonium source to return. He soon realises that this was the year that his mom and dad started dating and pretty soon by accident he gets himself into a lot of troubles, with the future depending all on his one tiny mistake. Will he save the future with some help from the Doc?
The cast for this show was simply astonishing and picked with lots of precision.
Olly Dobson played the role of Marty McFly incredibly well! His portrayal of McFly was extremely slick and faultless. With great comedic timing, powerful and insane vocals and great resemblance to Michael J. Fox who originated the role, Dobson was a stellar choice for the role!
Marty's Dad; George McFly was played by Hugh Coles who got the theatre filled with laughter because of his hilarious and clever portrayal of George. Everything Coles did, he got a reaction for because of how well he thought through and played around with his character. A top gold performance from Coles.
The star of the show in my opinion was definitely Roger Bart who played the role of Doc. I grew up watching him in the 2005 feature film 'The Producers' and his portrayal of Carmen Ghia in this film is what made me want to train and go into musical theatre myself. I have always been a long-time fan of Bart so hearing the news of him being cast in this role had me extremely excited but curious at the same time because I had no clue who the character of Doc is and whether it will allow Bart to experiment with it and make it his own, just like he did with every other role he played... and he did! To be honest, Bart fully embodied Doc and whilst staying very true to Christopher Lloyd's film portrayal as Bart created another level of the character on top of the original which was insanely amusing and interesting to watch. His comedic strengths gained whilst working on many plays and musicals were definitely being used as Bart had hilarious comedic timing and every action or gesture had a comedic intention to it. His vocals were stunning especially in a very soft and lovely ballad; 'For the Dreamers' which showed off Bart's ability successfully. The highlight of the show was definitely his comedic choreography during 'It Works' or '21st Century' which once again proved that casting Bart in this role was a faultless choice and his performance will forever stay with me.
The rest of the cast also did an absolutely fabulous job and I would honestly love to mention everyone however with such a large cast of 25, this review would be endless. I can safely say though that this is one of the strongest cast I have ever seen and their energy and enjoyment is infectious!
The design of this show... Wow, I really don't know what to say because I am just speechless. When walking into the auditorium all you see is huge metal plates surrounding the proscenium with bright blue neon strikes of lights passing around it, creating this resemblance to a retro computer motherboard. The projected curtain was also a very clever idea with a reminder that phones weren't invented in 1985 so they shouldn't be used during the show and few other theatre rules displayed and social media emojis most likely wanting you to post about the show online. I feel like HUGE amounts of works went into creating this show visually through set, projections and lighting so a big mention must go to Tim Hatley (Set and Costumes), Finn Ross (Video Design) and Hugh Vanstone & Tim Lutkin (Lighting Design) because their work blended together created a breath-taking visual journey on top of the brilliant musical. I mean the special effects were all down to them and Chris Fisher (who created all the illusions for the show) and many audience were had tears of amazement in their eyes everytime the the DeLorean time machine made an appearance because the special effects used to create these scenes were just unbelievable, incredibly astonishing and slick.
The only tiny let down of this musical is the music as some of it does feel a bit repetitive and some songs seem a bit out of place as they don't really have much to do with the storyline however the awesome choreography by Chris Bailey and the super talented make up for it!
This show gets:
Overall, If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 Miles per hour it will become a worldwide hit musical and the cast along with the special effects will forever be remembered in the Musical Theatre history!