Back to the Future World Premiere Review (Manchester's Opera House)

Updated on 3 September 2020

Back to the Future, the 1985 film, is no doubt a classic. Sci-fi fans adore it as well as those who aren’t necessarily even fans of the genre. Back to the Future the musical is the perfect ode to such a beloved part of pop culture. If you’re a fan of the franchise, then it’s a certainty that the musical will be a hit with you.

The story of the Back to the Future musical doesn’t differ all that much from the film, which is a real plus for those going for a nostalgia buzz. If you love the plot, then you’re going to be happy with the choices they made with the book; written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale which they adapted from their original screenplay. The music and lyrics are by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard and are written perfectly to fit in with the film. The score is stunning in places, and there are plenty of fun numbers, which pay perfect homage to the film and the 80s era. There are songs you will recognise from the film and new ones, which you will grow to love just as much.

The casting is a testament to just how important a role casting directors play in the theatre business. When adapting such a beloved film, that stars icons such as Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd, you really have your work cut out. However, your favourite characters are safe in the hands of Olly Dobson, Roger Bart, Hugh Coles and the rest of the incredible cast. Dobson is the perfect Marty McFly! The character really required someone who would win audiences of all calibres over; the die-hard Back to the Future fans, musical theatre fans, and those just looking for a good time. It had to be someone who could be cool, someone you’d want to be like, be friends (or more than friendly) with. Dobson brings all that to the plate, and then some, and is perfectly matched by legend Roger Bart who does incredible justice to the role of Doc Brown. Bart completely captures the character as well as bringing his own fun, quirkiness to it. A show-stealer for me, however, was Hugh Coles in the role of George McFly. His mannerisms were completely spot-on, winning the audience over with his endearing hopelessness.

Back to the Future the musical has everything you look for in a production, and more. The world premiere of this show has audiences going into the Manchester Opera House wondering how they were going to pull it off. From the get-go, they completely immerse you into the story, via the incredible set which comes out into the auditorium making you feel that bit closer. There are so many moments that leave your mouth hanging open in awe, many whispered wow’s can be heard as the special effects earn gasps and applause alike. However, it’s the ending, you know the big “this is it” scene, that truly blows the mind as they bring such an iconic scene to life on stage in front of you. There wasn’t a person in the audience that wasn’t completely entranced and hugely impressed. The video design, the special effects, all that incredible technology that so often gets overlooked in the grand scale of theatre, is what makes this musical so phenomenal.

Back to the Future just became the new must-see hit musical. I guarantee you that this is going to be the talk of the theatre scene and beyond! The musical is playing at the Manchester Opera House until 17 May 2020 and plans to transfer to the West End afterwards. Be sure to follow our socials, keep an eye on our news page and sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know when Back to the Future London tickets, dates and news are announced.

By Jade Ali

A love for theatre stemmed from my love of literature and music, but the West End on my doorstep opened up a whole new appreciation and passion for all things stage-y