Great Scot! Unauthorized!’s 'That '80s Time Travel Movie - A Back To The Future Musical Parody’ is being performed for the first time outside of America with its Australian debut at the venerable Brisbane Arts Theatre.
Nobody could blame Director Row Blackshaw for remarking “This is heavy”. Yet as final preparations are underway we find a director who is grateful for the tremendous effort put in by her crew, the collaborative spirit of all involved and the tremendous talent displayed by a cast who fits these iconic roles like a glove. She informs audiences “can expect an amusing performance that will take them back in time to relive their fondest memories of ‘Back To The Future’ one. Expect the comedic twists and turns that you’d anticipate from a parody. They can be prepared to sing along, to be shocked and captivated.”
“Being a huge fan of the film I felt a sense of pressure to prove myself,” Row says, who jumped at a chance to direct the show having first seen the film in high school. The love of the film informed how she approached making the parody where casting was key, “I’m actually very privileged, the cast are very true to the characters. I’m very lucky to have the cast that I do because I think they all fit the roles very, very well.”
As a trained musician and dancer, Row worked closely with her musical director to make sure the music wasn’t forgotten at the expense of the comedy. Songs that weren’t used in the American productions have been acquired for these performances so there will be present ‘The Power Of Love’, ‘Back In Time’ in addition to ‘Johnny B. Goode’. Another key change was instead of scoring with piano there is now a four piece rock band.
“I’ve got such a collaborative creative team who are helping with all the other elements. So our design team are so on the ball that we have a replica clock tower, it’s just a smaller scale and that is going to bring a lot of the comedy aspect from the film. So he’s got a little step ladder and you know Marty’s like 'You’re really high Doc'... [Letting out a Doc Brownian 'ahhh']. We’ve incorporated iconic set-pieces from the film and also props and then things that we couldn’t logistically do, like the DeLorean flying off into the air, we’ve given a creative and a comedic spin on that.” There will also be a real DeLorean parked outside the theatre on opening night.
Row Blackshaw has led an interesting life that informs her work in the arts. Having performed from a young age she was also inspired by her younger brother who has severe autism to study disability and mental health. She has worked as a nurse and taught special needs children. She still has a message from her grandmother on her phone’s wallpaper. “'Carry on with your ambitions, keep them fed and watered and go from strength to strength. Give pleasure to many – I’m always rooting for you'... She was very important to me. She wrote it on my graduation day when I graduated year 12.” Fans of the original ‘Back To The Future’ looking for a fun night out are sure to be rooting for her too come opening night.