This one's for the dreamers

Published July 29, 2023

The marketing image for Back to the Future The Musical, featuring purple and blue clouds in the background, with the title stylised in red and yellow in the centre

Finally, I have managed to cross ‘Watch Back to the Future: The Musical’ off my to do list. There have been a couple of failed attempts and I’ve been worried that the universe didn’t want me to see it, but I’ve thwarted the universe and seen the brilliance of this show.

I went in with trepidation, of course I did. When they announced there was going to be a BTTF musical, I was skeptical. Even under the watchful guise of Bob Gale, do we really need to keep messing with absolute classics? I love a musical, but not every film needs to have a stage version made of it. And of course, anything that affects a huge favourite in your life is going to increase the risk of not liking it.

Because of the failed attempts to get to a viewing, I gave in and listened to the cast recording before seeing the full show, something I wouldn’t normally do. But I’m glad I did because it was a) brilliant and b) a relief. It also helped because I found some of the vocals in the show a bit muddy but I knew the lyrics from having previously listened once or twice (or a few times).

That is the only negative I have to report, an occasional inability to decipher the words, otherwise it was an absolute blast. The cast were brilliant, the songs a lot of fun and the set really clever. The things they can do with a DeLorean! It can be difficult to make a stationary car on stage have the effect of racing away, and we all know this car needs to go 88mph, but they did a really good job.

And I loved the story - they’ve made tweaks to the original film, some pretty innocuous like George just falling out of a tree and not getting hit by a car, and some more fundamental like taking away the terrorist aspect from the Twin Pines Mall piece. They were cleverly, and sensitively, done though, so I had no complaints about the changes. And there was so much that was familiar, catchphrases, scripts, set-pieces, it was wonderful.

There was a lot of comedy, too, potentially more than the film. Out and out funny moments, a lot of physical comedy, and Doc Brown being more humorous than eccentric, and with his own really moving moments. I was sad when the curtain came down at the end, but have since been wearing out my headphones listening to the album, and already planning a return visit. If you get the chance, definitely see this show - if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!

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