Back to the Future – the musical. Book by Bob Gale. Music and Lyrics by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard. The Adelphi theatre, The Strand, London. 4****. William Russell.

A splendid and very hard working cast deliver the goods in this transformation of Robert Zemeckis’ 1985 movie into a musical. The score is played loudly, most of the tunes go in one ear and out the other, but not all, the choreography is fast and furious and as Marty McFly who goes back in time to 1955 when his parents were teenagers Olly Dobson seems to have inexhaustible energy and sings up a storm throughout. Maybe he lacks some of the charm of Michael J Fox, who created the role in the film, but in the context of the show he is perfect and the joke about his Calvin Klein underpants works a treat. Roger Bart makes a suitably eccentric Doc Brown, modelled obviously on Christopher Lloyd in the film, but manages to make the role his own. Maybe the adults of 1985 are slightly elderly teenagers in 1955 but Hugh Coles is suitably wimpish as both the put upon teenager and Dad, and Rosanna Hadland warbles sweetly as Mum and the girl Dad fancies who proves more of a goer in her youth than her son thinks desirable. But in the end, even if the de Lorean joke, a good one when the film was made, has lost its point, what matters is how does Marty get back to the past, and, more importantly, back to the future? In other words will the car fly? It does in breathtaking fashion through stunning visual effects culminating in it soaring over the stalls and turning turtle before going back to the stage. This is not a great musical, but it is splendid entertainment, a throwback to the days when ocean liners used to sink, the earth to quake and real horses ran races on stage while audiences sat amazed and bedazzled. On press night, a delayed affair and not the one to which the rent a quote celebrities were invited, the paying customers in the stalls leapt to their feet at the end to applaud. This musical does have a future occupying the Adelphi for quite some time to come. A case of Future Perfect in other words.

Marty McFly: Olly Dobson.
Doc Brown: Roger Bart,
George McFly: Hugh Coles.
Lorraine Baines: Rosanna Hyland.
Goldie Wilson/Marvin Berry: Cedric Neal.
Biff Tannen: Aidan Cutler.
Jennifer Parker: Courtney-Mae Briggs.
Stricland: Mark Oxtoby.
Dave McFly: Will Haswell.
Linda McFly: Emma Lloyd.
Ensemble: Rhianne Alleyne. Joshua Clemetson. Jamal Kane Crawford. Ryan heenan. Cameron McAlister. Alessia Mcdermott. Laura Mullowney. Nic Myers. Shane O’Riordan. Katharine Pearson. Justin Thomas.
Director: John rando.
Designer: Tim hatley.
Choreographer: Chris Bailey.
Lighting Designer: Tim Lutkin. Video Designer: Finn Ross.
Sound Desiugner: Gareth Owen.
Illusion Designer: Chris Fisher.
Fight Director: Maurice Chan.
Musical Director: Jim Henson.
Flying Delorean: Twins FX
Production photographs:Sean Ebsworth Barnes.

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