Back to the Future: The Musical Review – Car the Star | Theater

NSWhat is the speed of the car at 88mph on the platform? That must have been the biggest challenge for this musical adaptation of the 1985 hit film about Marty, Doc, and the time-traveling DeLorean, who has to get that brutal velocity to tear the decades back to 1955. Kudos for building to pull off such a great effect.

It actually appears as though DeLorean is defying the rules of the theatre, if not a time-space continuum. The effect is created through a plethora of screens, graphic projection (video design by Finn Ross) and a firework of lights (lighting design by Tim Lutkin) with the most dazzling illusion of depth beyond the proscenium arch and into the auditorium . Behind the theatre. It showers light and colour, which, in its magnitude, looks little less than turning on the West End’s Christmas lights.

A freak show... Ollie Dobson as Marty McFly and Hugh Coles as George McFly.
A freak show… Ollie Dobson as Marty McFly and Hugh Coles as George McFly. Photograph: Sean Absworth Barnes

DeLorean raves, runs, lifts, and backchats Marty almost as much as Knight Rider’s sassy kit. Beyond the car’s star turn, it’s a singular show directed by John Rando, partly a tribute to the film, but also a tribute work that speaks to its theatrics. The book by Bob Gale (who co-wrote the film with Robert Zemeckis) retains the film’s best lines, and even with the addition of 16 new songs (music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard), It feels like it’s a show stuck in time, very uncharacteristically like the original (though there is a functional plot change).

The actors appear to imitate their film counterparts: Ollie Dobson’s lovable, helpless, Marty McFly looks and acts like Michael J. Fox and Hugh Coles’ George McFly, as do Marty’s mother, Lorraine (Rosanna Hyland) and the school. Bully, Biff (Aidan Cutler). Roger Bart’s “Doctor” Emmett Brown begins in the same way, but his characterization accentuates distinctive quirks and he ends up as an even more off-the-wall creation than Christopher Lloyd’s zany original. .

The show feels like a mashup of theater and film: it begins with Steven Spielberg-style action movie musicals, while the screen is used in filmy ways, including a rolling down to “The End”. Is). The graphics alternately make us feel like we’re inside a giant arcade game or 3D movie, but it’s a fascinating integration of forms nonetheless.

Even more off-the-wall... Roger Bart as the Doctor.
Even more off-the-wall… Roger Bart as the Doctor. Photograph: Sean Absworth Barnes

The second half becomes increasingly offbeat; Initially, the Doctor noticed that a chorus line of dancers appeared on stage every time he began to sing. This self-awareness is built up in the second half as cheerleaders bop with pom-poms and dancers in top hats and tails appear out of nowhere. The overall effect is cute and pleasantly kitschy, even if it’s something of a repeated joke. The show steps outside of itself and takes a sarcastic take on the “future” year of 2020, making some predictable jokes about the eradication of black and infectious disease, in the form of an ironic reference to COVID-19.

The song, initially from Got No Future, is about Marty’s family failures at work, a takeaway by his brother Dave (Will Haswell), which is accompanied by “You Want Fries” with “saturated fats”. Relay the story. That?”). These are done with gusto, though at times they seem thin and a bit unnecessary. The most powerful delivery are the film’s best-loved numbers – The Power of Love and Johnny B. Good – though some The catchy new songs Do It Works and Come to the 21st Century.

Chris Bailey’s choreography feels a bit heavy until the final song, when it’s too late, the routine comes to life in full swing. Tim Hatley’s set designs are large, impressive, and detailed, thoroughly capturing the 1950s, with a wonderful mint-green diner and a sparkly prom ball that sends disco lights swirling around the auditorium.

Despite its inventions and its abundant splashes, a strange mishmash of originality and imitation, DeLorean remains its biggest star.

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