Back To The Future The Musical has opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London.
This movie-to-stage musical adaptation has been highly anticipated (understatement!), and alongside the joy of getting to see a classic 80’s movie live on stage, the West End is also treated to Broadway stage royalty Roger Bart (The Producers) giving us his Dr Emmett Brown!
The cast also features Olly Dobson as Michael J. Fox’s character Marty McFly, plus Hugh Coles as George McFly, Rosanna Hyland as Lorraine Baines, Cedric Neal as Goldie Wilson, Aidan Cutler as Biff Tannen, Courtney-Mae Briggs as Jennifer Parker, Will Haswell as Dave McFly, Emma Lloyd as Linda McFly and Mark Oxtoby as Strickland.
This new musical stage adaption has a book by Bob Gale and new music and lyrics by Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Alan Silvestri and six-time Grammy Award-winning Glen Ballard, with additional songs from the film including The Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode.
Overall the reviews are mixed and the show seems to polarise critics, , with some absolutely five-star lovin’ it, and others feeling that the big set pieces (namely the car) dominate over songs and book. Which may also come down to whether you know and love the movie or you don’t.
Check out the reviews round-up for Back to the Future, below.
Back to the Future: The Musical reviews
"The car’s the star: this is a splashy theatre-film mashup, with gravity-defying effects, cute quirks and offbeat gags"
"The cast appear to imitate their film counterparts: Olly Dobson’s sweet, hapless, Marty McFly looks and acts like Michael J Fox and Hugh Coles’s George McFly replicates the gestures of his original, as do Marty’s mother, Lorraine (Rosanna Hyland), and the school bully, Biff (Aidan Cutler). Roger Bart’s “Doc” Emmett Brown begins the same way but his characterisation grows distinctive quirks and he ends up as an even more off-the-wall creation than Christopher Lloyd’s zany original."
"From Doc to the DeLorean, this blast from the past hits all the right notes"
"Where to begin, with a production that packs more energy than a nuclear reactor? Could it be Olly Dobson, taking on the Michael J Fox role of Marty McFly: the floppy-haired Eighties teenager who finds himself stuck in the Fifties, trying to save his family's future by securing his parents' first date?"
"And when it comes to launch time, Tim Hatley's design lays on video special effects that have us speeding through neon lit streets in a blur of coloured streaks. And that's on top of already spectacular sets of clapboard suburbia, the High School, a farmyard barn, the town square (with bust clock) and of course, Doc's chaotic man-shed. As if that wasn't enough, Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard's music relaunches the story as a whole new entity."
"West End Musical Is Lots of Fun Despite Flaws"
"The pastiche songs work best, as when Lorraine falls for “Calvin” and a girl group trio pops up from behind the curtains to accompany her. But otherwise, the songs are more pop than theater. Instead of deepening or driving forward, they state and re-state a case, with anodyne and/or mis-stressed lyrics: “I can’t wait to be/ In the twenty-first cent-u-ry” — which is a number of knowing nonsense put there solely to open the second act.
"Yet all those problems disappear beneath the determination of the production team to deliver a good time to its audience."
"The car's the star in this feelgood triumph"
"Great Scott! This musical based on the Eighties classic shouldn't work - but it's magnificent"
"A near-seamless slice of escapist entertainment...
Even the time machine’s a triumph in this larky musical version of the 1985 cult movie classic"
"Visually, the show’s a treat too, with lots of little in-jokes and exuberant swing-style dance routines, including one that’s a flat-out homage to that other 1980s teen classic, Footloose. And let’s be frank: the biggest anxiety was how they’d do the DeLorean, since cars on stage tend to be stationary or ponderous. Happily, the time machine is a triumph of theatrical engineering, instantly recognisable but with an overhaul and an upgrade. Much like the musical itself. Go, enjoy."
"An eye-popping Gen X nostalgia trip...
The vibe is determinedly feelgood in this dazzling production full of 80s hits."
"The show, by Zemeckis’ co-writer Bob Gale, with songs by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard, may well delight a whole new young audience and certainly packs enough eye-popping spectacle and gigawatt energy. But where it really fires on all cylinders is as a Gen X nostalgia trip. "
"Classic stalls like an old DeLorean"
"In the end, though, it’s like sitting in a musty, 40-year-old DeLorean and discovering that the engine keeps stalling. I suspect that if you’re a hardcore fan who knows every line of the film script you’re going to buy a ticket anyway. Others should beware."
Date: 14 September 2021
Written by: Paul Raven
Tags: Adelphi Theatre, Back to the Future, Back to the Future The Musical, Roger Bart