Back to the Fabulous Future, a spectacular show

“I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet, but your kids are going to love it.”

Marty McFly


It’s been a long wait for Back to the Future the musical as the pandemic put paid to anything other than previews at Manchester’s Opera House in March 2020 but Great Scott! has it been worth it. 

The last car I saw fly was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which failed to fly on an opening night and we all had to go back to the Palladium for a re-run.  Something similar happened to Back to the Future when one of its stars Roger Bart as Doc Brown tested positive for covid and an understudy, the redoubtable Mark Oxtoby (now as Strickland), took over for the press performance.  But last night we got to see the producers’ choice Roger Bart as the quirky Doc and he was stupendous.  The DeLorean however worked perfectly and was very impressive with great lighting effects and accessories, including those iconic gull wing doors which open upwards.

Some of the film music is there although many songs have been specially composed by Alan Silvestri, the film’s composer, and Glen Ballard, but the whole show feels to be more of a specialist, spectacular entertainment than a conventional musical.  The song, “It’s Only a Matter of Time” by Alan Silvestri has been set to the film’s original orchestral theme with its stirring chords and Star Wars type inspirational crescendo dominated tune. 

The story sticks pretty much to the film and only Einstein the dog is the missing element but any pooch would have been scared out of its doggy mind by Chris Fisher’s special illusions with sound effects from Gareth Owen.  The show opens with Marty McFly (Olly Dobson) being rejected in an audition but his girlfriend Jennifer (Courtney-Mae Briggs) supports and encourages him in song.  We meet Marty’s father, the feeble and flaky George McFly (Hugh Coles) and realise why the McFly family has its reputation for spineless ineptitude. 

Michelle Fox as Tybalt (Photo: Jane Hobson)

The mood is instantly lifted with the entry of the magnificent DeLorean car and Roger Bart as the Doc who has that mischievous way of making the audience laugh as did Christopher Lloyd with his looks aside.  We are introduced to Doc’s invention the flux capacitor and the car doesn’t just start, sparks, lights, fireworks and flashes add to its powerful impact. 

Marty is taken back to 1955 where we see Biff the Bully (Aiden Cutler) tormenting George McFly.   We meet Goldie Wilson (a brilliant Cedric Neal who doubles as Marvin Berry) in a choreographed scene as the man in overalls working clearing tables in a café.  Neal’s singing voice is special.  Marty follows his father and meets his mother Lorraine (Rosanna Hyland) who in an Oedipal moment falls for her own son.  The song “Pretty Baby” takes place in the bedroom assigned to Marty with three Lorraine lookalikes appearing in the window while his mother stands there. Act One closes with the school fight scene but much happening in this act is setting up for the second act sensation. 

The number and variety of Tim Hatley’s sets are magnificent and the opening song of the second act “21st Century” is set in Doc Brown’s laboratory with white coated assistants with lit up headdress helmets and so many lighting colour shifts from Hugh Vanstone and Tim Lutkin, it is really exciting.  The printed circuit board lighting comes right out into the sides of the auditorium, surrounding the proscenium stage. “For the Dreamers” is a pretty song.

Roger Bart as Doc Brown (Photo: Sean Ebsworth Barnes)

Marty will try to teach his father some Mick Jagger dance moves in a scene of comic choreography.  Olly Dobson has the boyish qualities of Michael J Fox and presents a good characterisation of the 17 year old tasked with ensuring his own and his siblings’ future existence. 

The storm climax is handled really well, using video to achieve a filmic quality with magical illusions and Doc will hang from the clock.  This show will not disappoint with its tremendous visual memories, lashings of comedy and with all the excitement of a live stage performance.  I loved Roger Bart’s quixotic Doc injecting delicious humour into his performance.  Well done to director John Rando and the producers for realising a five star show.

Olly Dobson as Marty McFly (Photo: Sean Ebsworth Barnes)

Musical Numbers

Act One

It’s Only a Matter of Time

 Got No Future

 Wherever We’re Going

 Hello – Is Anybody Home?

 It Works


 Got No Future (Reprise)

 Gotta Start Somewhere

 My Myopia

 Pretty Baby

 Future Boy

 Hill Valley High School Fight Song

 Something About That Boy


Act Two

21st Century

 Something About That Boy


 Put Your Mind To It

 For the Dreamers

 Teach Him a Lesson

 It’s Only a Matter of Time


 Deep Divin’

 Pretty Baby (Reprise)

 Earth Angel (Dootsie Williams)

 Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry)

 For the Dreamers


 The Power of Love

(Huey Lewis ASCAP)

 Back In Time

(Bedaah Music ASCAP)

Production Notes

Back to the Future – the musical

Book by Bob Gale

Music and Lyrics by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard

Based on the Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment Film written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale

New Book Timothy Crouse and John Weidman

Directed by John Rando



Olly Dobson

Roger Bart

Hugh Coles

Rosanna Hyland

Cedric Neal

Aidan Cutler

Courtney-Mae Briggs

Mark Oxtoby

Will Haswell

Emma Lloyd



Rhianne Alleyne

Joshua Clemetson

Jamal Kane Crawford

Ryan Heenan

Cameron McAllister (Fight Captain)

Alessia McDermott

Laura Mullowney (Dance Captain)

Nic Myers

Shane O’Riordan

Katharine Pearson

Justin Thomas



Amy Baker

Matthew Barrow

Bessy Ewa

Morgan Gregory

Oliver Tester

Tavio Wright

Emily Ormiston

Liam Wrate

Jack Wilcox


Director: John Rando

Designer: Tim Hatley

Musical Director: Jim Henson

Lighting Designer:  Tim Lutkin

Lighting Consultant: Hugh Vanstone

Choreographer:  Chris Bailey

Sound Designer: Gareth Owen

Illusion Designer: Chris Fisher

Video Design: Finn Ross

Fight Director: Maurice Chan

Musical Supervisor,

Vocal and Musical Arrangements:  Nick Finlow

Orchestrations: Ethan Popp and Bryan Cook


Running Time: Two hours 45 minutes with an interval

Extended and Booking until 1st July 2022


Adelphi Theatre

409-412 The Strand

London WC2R 0NS

Box Office: 0844 412 4651


Tube: Charing Cross

Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge

at the Adelphi Theatre on 27th September  2022