A West End newbie on the power of theatre and a rekindled love for Back To The Future

12 April 2022

It was the weekend. One of those Sundays where you slowly sink into the sofa and find you’ve barely flexed a toe for hours.

I’d been meaning to watch Back To The Future ever since I caught part of it a long time before that day. So when I came across it that Sunday, as it was just beginning, I thought why not give it a shot?

That was probably ten years ago now, and it still holds its place firmly among my favourite films.

Never for a second did I think however, that Back To The Future would be my introduction to the West End.

Where it all began

My experience with the theatre is virtually non-existent. My first taste of it was actually on stage, as Uncle Henry in my Year 6 production of The Wizard of Oz.

It wasn’t the greatest performance, I’ll be the first to admit. I seemed to think a break was needed between every syllable, and gauging from my casualness on stage, that a tornado wasn’t that great of a threat.

So to be honest, when I took my seat in the Adelphi Theatre to watch Back To The Future The Musical, I really didn’t know what to expect.

With the auditorium filled with charging rods of light, the stage suddenly became flooded with 80s-clad characters singing and dancing.

From there, the story that I was so familiar with came to life. Marty was as charming as ever and Doc just as eccentric, wild and hilarious as you could possibly hope for.

I was curious how the story would be transformed into a musical. I quickly realised that the songs added an extra depth to the story I wasn’t expecting. They’d pick out certain themes and focus on them.

One that stood out was Marty and Jennifer’s duet near the beginning. The fear they touch on of growing up, of what comes after the blissful freedom of childhood is an aspect of life many of us are familiar with.

Another was the idea of your parents’ lives before you came along: that they weren’t always known as “Mom” and “Dad” but were once teenagers trying to cope with school and first loves just like you probably once were.

It’s comedic in all the ways you’d hope, filled with bellyaching laughs and scenes that leave you crying with tears. Oh, and a heads up, get ready to witness some of the best dad dancing you’ve ever witnessed.

Everything was new to me. The show was brilliant, but that’s not the only thing I keep thinking about. Being part of an audience so ready to get back and experience live theatre was palpable. People were ready to laugh, to be immersed, to have a good night.

It was impossible not to share this same energy with them. At every joke I found myself laughing harder than I expected. With every scene and song that passed, I found myself falling that little bit deeper. With every round of applause I found myself clapping harder.

A night to remember

So, that was how my first experience of the West End went.

Even after my disastrous performance as Uncle Henry, I left the theatre so inspired that I wondered if maybe it was time to give it another shot.

After a few hours (and rewatching my Year 6 performance) went by, that thought passed. But that’s the power of theatre. For a moment it takes you away into another world where you can be anything you want: a scientist, a time-travelling teenager, a performer.

And sometimes, that’s exactly what we need.

To make the beginning of your journey as easy as possible, all you have to do is click on the tile below and you'll be taken to the page where you can read more about the show and book your tickets all in the same place. 

Take a look, you deserve a night at the theatre.