Reviews are coming in for the Olivier Award-winning musical Groundhog Day at The Old Vic theatre in London.
With music and lyrics by Tim Minchin (Matilda The Musical), and direction by Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day has a book by Danny Ruben, who co-wrote the screenplay of the original movie, which starred Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.
Andy Karl reprises his Olivier Award-winning performance as Phil Connors, alongside Tanisha Spring as love interest Rita Hanson.
The wider cast includes Jasmin Colangelo as Swing/Puppetry Captain, Kelly Ewins-Prouse as Swing/Dance Captain, Kamilla Fernandes as Ensemble (Debbie), Aimée Fisher as Ensemble (Joelle), Zack Guest as Swing, Nick Hayes as Ensemble (Ralph), Jacqueline Hughes as Ensemble (Piano Teacher), Ashlee Irish as Ensemble (Larry), Chris Jenkins as Ensemble (Gus), Andrew Langtree as Ensemble (Ned Ryerson), Billy Nevers as Ensemble (Fred), Eve Norris as Ensemble (Nancy), Mark Pearce as Ensemble (Sheriff), Ben Redfern as Ensemble (Buster), Durone Stokes as Ensemble (Deputy), Alex Stoll as Ensemble (Billy), Jez Unwin as Ensemble (Jenson), Annie Wensak as Ensemble (Mrs Lancaster) and Matthew Whennell-Clark as Swing/Assistant Dance Captain.
The creative team includes: Choreography by Lizzi Gee, Set & Costume by Rob Howell, Orchestration, Additional Music & Musical Supervisor by Christopher Nightingale, Lighting by Hugh Vanstone, Sound by Simon Baker, Illusions by Paul Kieve, Additional Movement by Finn Caldwell, Video & Animation by Andrzej Goulding, Casting for Will Burton for GBC, Musical Director Alan Berry, Voice by Charlie Hughes-D’Aeth, Dialect by Penny Dyer, Associate Directors are Paul Warwick Griffin and Nik Ashton, and Assistant Musical Supervisor by Jack Hopkins.
Groundhog Day The Musical is playing at The Old Vic to 19 August 2023.
Check out reviews from The Guardian, TimeOut, Evening Standard and more, with further reviews to follow.
Groundhog Day reviews
"The same magic and satire... all over again"
"Well, this glorious collaboration between Danny Rubin, the screenwriter, and Tim Minchin, the composer and lyricist, comes as close as you could possibly imagine to reproducing the magic of the original."
"And in the Broadway actor Andy Karl, reprising his role as Phil Connors, the cynical TV weather forecaster, it boasts a charismatic leading man who steps out of the shadow of Bill Murray."
"The language is raunchier than in the film. But even if the energy levels dip slightly in the more sombre second act, the satire never settles for the lowest common denominator. Rubin’s book follows the trajectory of the movie."
"You really don’t want to leave this enchanted town."
"I could watch Tim Minchin and Danny Rubin’s show again and again"
"If this show doesn’t quite escape the shadow of its source material, it adds dimension and depth to it"
"Sublimely witty and surprisingly profound, it’s a pleasure to experience this new, improved musical version of Groundhog Day again."
"If this show doesn’t quite escape the shadow of its source material, it adds dimension and depth to it. Groundhog Day makes perfect sense as a stage musical, a form where actions are repeated with variation in the hope of perfection."
"Warchus handles the script’s subtly layered repetitions with aplomb. Karl doesn’t have one of those huge Broadway voices but he is nicely, sardonically terse early on, and sweetly melodious when Phil mellows. Spring has a lovely, bell-like voice and her charming Rita has a bit of grit."
"Repeat production makes for guaranteed entertainment"
"A revival of the musical at the same venue where it premiered combines clever staging, impeccable performances and Tim Minchin’s lyrical brilliance into a reassuringly familiar and enjoyable package"
"The big surprise is that it still lifts us with its comedy, and thrills us with its theatrical invention.
So much of that is down to Tim Minchin. His music is fine if relentless, with songs coming thick and fast at first, none of the tunes memorable. But his lyrics are a blast, zinging with clever, quick wit. The show glows with bursts of comic brilliance as a result..."
"There is also a bewitching performance from Karl, reprising the role of the anchorman, who really is a throwback to another era."
"Directed by Matthew Warchus, who also worked with Minchin on Matilda, the production uses overt, flamboyant theatricality to its advantage."
"Finally back after seven years, Tim Minchin’s musical adaptation of the classic ’90s comedy is a flat out masterpiece"
"Existential angst and toe-tapping tunes blend miraculously well in ‘Groundhog Day’, composer Tim Minchin's dazzling take on the 1993 movie. The Aussie comic is also the brains behind mega-hit musical ‘Matilda', and this show is an equivalent achievement. He's taken a much-loved but deeply cynical story and breathed all the emotional weight and heartbreak into it that a musical needs to soar."
"Ultimately, ‘Groundhog Day’ is a surprisingly profound exploration of how to live a good life by appreciating the wonder and specialness in the everyday: Rob Howell's beautifully detailed set design seems to blossom as Phil's cynicism melts away. It feels like a snowy American echo of another Old Vic hit, ‘A Christmas Carol’ – and one that also deserves to run, and run, and run."
"Tim Minchin’s musical is warm and spiky – but it’s no Matilda"
"There is much to savour in this sharp, witty story about saving oneself"
"Global smash-hit magic doesn’t quite happen for a second time with this musical... Yet the duo certainly know a thing or two about putting together an appealing show – and there is much to savour in a sharp, spiky story about saving oneself."
"You'll want to see this again... and again!"
"Verdict: On repeat, please!"
"Matthew Warchus and Tim Minchin’s musical is a dizzying, blistering and joyous reinvention of Danny Rubin’s cult story. Back in the West End seven years after its premiere, it’s a show that not only stands repetition but also turns that repetition into an art form — thanks in no small part to the mesmeric Andy Karl in the Murray role of cynical weatherman Phil Connors."
"Warchus’s production, too, is a spinning top of a show. If it wobbles, it’s over — but wobble it never does. That’s partly because Warchus has an ultra-low tolerance for stasis, constantly bombarding us with whirligigs of dance."
"The show, however, would be inconceivable without Karl as self-centred Phil. Rarely are looks and talent so strikingly combined. He channels deadpan Murray, Steve Martin’s physical comedy and David Schwimmer’s goofiness, but he also has the dark, brooding features of Bryan Cranston."
"It’s a delight to have this marvellous rom-com back again"
"Tim Minchin's musical adaptation of the famous 1993 film has head, heart and spark, and capitalises cleverly on its stuck-in-a-groove theme"
"What lies in the show’s favour this time, besides its abundant wit, musical invention and theatrical élan, is not only affection for the evergreen film, which starred Bill Murray as the snotty interloper, Phil Connors, but a more inescapable resonance to its themes. Emerging from the pandemic, and reeling from those lockdowns, Connors’s existential crisis isn’t so conjectural – it’s close to home."
"As things fall apart, the action speeds up, and gets funnier and more disconcerting. The music acquires its own dreamlike vitality through circling reprises, and makes the stuck-in-a-groove conceit a source of inspired variations on a theme; it’s like a curious case of déjà-heard, and even the familiar sight of a Broadway tap-number is wildly reinvented in the second half."
"I worried I was OTT in my praise last time, but it’s one for the ages."
"Sharp, dark musical from Danny Rubin and the Matilda dream team makes a triumphant return"
"Sharper and darker than ever, it’s back to teach Phil more life lessons – and what a bracing blend of acid and wistfulness it is. It’s a show that repeatedly, and impishly, wrongfoots its audience, forcing us to gaze into the abyss of futility and despair before blindsiding us with a glimmer of tantalising possibility or a warming spark of connection. Andy Karl, returning to the role that won him an Olivier, is its relentlessly beating heart in a performance that is spiky, muscular, meticulously controlled and – for all Phil’s glaring personality flaws – astonishingly charismatic."