BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE MUSICAL | London, Adelphi Theatre

The highest-grossing movie of 1985 has now become an Olivier Award-winning West End musical, transferring from an acclaimed run at the Manchester Opera House. Although, fans of the original movie franchise are likely to be in two minds as to whether we need this stage treatment at all.

There is no doubt that seeing a live, on-stage cast dressed in the film’s iconic costumes, recreating the film’s original production design (Tim Hatley) has an amazing, nostalgic power, surrounded by an audience of fans. Ingenious video (Finn Ross), lighting (Tim Lutkin) and stage illusions (Chris Fisher) come together to turn the Dolorean’s journeys through time and space into a jaw-dropping Las Vegas spectacle. Impersonations of the original film’s cast are excellent, if perhaps a little overdone.

The film makes a lot of sense as a musical: taking place in a heightened reality, music is vital in showcasing both the differences and similarities between Hill Valley of 1985 and 1955. Our hero Marty McFly (Olly Dobson) is a budding guitarist and singer, and the story’s climax comes at a High School dance. Alan Silvestri’s iconic film score is adapted here as melodic material for songs, as joint composer with Glen Ballard.

But the new music and lyrics don’t seem to add much. It seems to make sense on paper, but the reality is that we just never needed the musical adaptation in the first place.

Playing 13 September 2021 – 23 October 2022 at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End. Tickets from £19.55.

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