Groundhog Day

Theatre, Musicals
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 (© Manuel Harlan)
1/6
© Manuel Harlan

Andy Karl (Phil Connors)

 (© Johan Persson)
2/6
© Johan Persson

Andrew Langtree (Ned Ryerson)

 (© Manuel Harlan)
3/6
© Manuel Harlan

Andy Karl (Phil Connors) and Carlyss Peer (Rita Hanson)

 (© Manuel Harlan)
4/6
© Manuel Harlan

Andy Karl (Phil Connors) and Carlyss Peer (Rita Hanson)

 (© Manuel Harlan)
5/6
© Manuel Harlan

Andy Karl (Phil Connors) and Carlyss Peer (Rita Hanson)

 (© Manuel Harlan)
6/6
© Manuel Harlan

Andy Karl (Phil Connors)

Tim Minchin follows 'Matilda' with a musical version of the Bill Murray classic

INTERVIEW: Tim Minchin on 'Groundhog Day', Brexit and getting over Bill Murray

‘Groundhog Day’, Tim Minchin’s adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray classic, is a musical about repetition. And also redemption.

‘Groundhog Day’, Tim Minchin’s adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray classic, sees the songwriting comedian reunite with director Matthew Warchus. It’s the dream team who made ‘Matilda’, the best British musical of the twenty-first century (apart from maybe ‘London Road’).

‘Groundhog Day’, Tim Minchin’s adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray classic, is not quite as good as ‘Matilda’, it’s a bit more slick and saccharine. But it is bloody good, probably the third-best British musical of the twenty-first century.

‘Groundhog Day’, Tim Minchin’s adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray classic, does not star Bill Murray as Phil Connors, the cantankerous weatherman who finds himself doomed to repeat the same day – watching a twee New England weather ceremony involving a rodent called a groundhog – over and over again. Instead it stars US actor Andy Karl. He is really very good, his matinee-ish looks making sense of Phil’s womanising arrogance. It does not star Andie MacDowell as Phil’s TV producer love interest Rita, but rather Carlyss Peer, who brings a bit more depth and spikiness to the role, while still holding on to the perky goodness that first infuriates then purifies Phil.

‘Groundhog Day’, Tim Minchin’s adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray classic, is unlikely to upset big fans of the film. It’s co-written with Danny Rubin, who wrote the original, and basically holds on to every incident and much of the dialogue from the movie. Ned is very much still Ned. 

‘Groundhog Day’, Tim Minchin’s adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray classic, is a musical about repetition. Props to the whole creative team, including illusionist Paul Kieve, for achieving the effect of Phil’s constantly resetting days via a multitude of coups de théâtre. We also feel the madness and strain of Phil’a bizarre curse – he lives years, possibly decades, possibly centuries – far more than in the film.

‘Groundhog Day’, Tim Minchin’s adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray classic, is a musical about repetition. The songs aren’t repetitive though: Minchin spans everything from redemptive piano tinkles to a silly country and western drinking song, to an ironically faux-uplifting rock ballad in the daft/macabre/brilliant/not-for-the-faint-of-heart scene where Phil kills himself many times over. Minchin is definitely better at words and tunes than choruses, but it serves the musical fantastically – his lyrics are very clever and very funny, albeit a bit more earnest than we’re used to. 

‘Groundhog Day’, Tim Minchin’s adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray classic, is only playing a limited run at the Old Vic, and then it’s going off to Broadway. But I think it’s safe to say that it’ll be back. And back. And back.

By: Andrzej Lukowski

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4.5 / 5

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LiveReviews|32
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1 of 1 found helpful

Go and see this show! I'm not even that in to musicals but this one had me in stitches, and at times was really moving too. Great comic acting all round, especially from the lead. The songs were highly original and varied in style, my favourite being a country-style riotous number set in a bar. The stage design and prop use was very witty, with lots of surprises and use of magic show techniques. It managed to show the horror and monotony of being trapped in that situation for so long, whilst all the time moving the story along and keeping you incredibly entertained. It was quite meta at times and also drew out some of the stories of the minor characters, giving a new take on the film. Nancy's song was a clever way to acknowledge and address some aspects of the film that might feel quite awkward to a modern audience. 


I would totally see this again. Would recommend paying for better seats and the Old Vic is old and quite cramped in the cheap seats 

1 of 1 found helpful

A very enjoyable show, well adapted for the stage and cast. The actor playing Phil Connors did a good job following in Bill Murray's steps. They managed the repetition brilliantly, using all sorts of clever techniques to carry the storyline. I'm not a huge fan of musicals but the lyrics in the songs were funny. Overall it got the mix right between comedy and sentiment. The only thing that made it less enjoyable for me were our seats up in the Lillian Baylis circle. We were squashed in and in need of some air con! So it's worth paying a bit more for some better seats.

tastemaker

This show was an unexpected delight! Whilst it obviously doesn't have the budget to compete with the huge West End productions, part of its charm is that it is low budget. It doesn't take itself too seriously. A perfect example of this is a scene depicting a car chase where they simply give the actors cardboard cut outs of police car bonnets to hold and run around stage with. Simple, effective and hilarious.

The show has Tim Minchin all over it. The audience laughed right the way through. My favourite scene (which was particularly Minchin-esque) was a hilarious song taking place in a pub with two white trash characters.

The actors were so versatile and played many different characters seamlessly. Some of the singing voices were a bit hit and miss, as were a few of the songs. But overall this is a great show, I highly recommend it.

tastemaker

I bought tickets for this months before it started at The Old Vic. I'm so lucky I did because with only a few weeks left, I have heard it's so difficult to get tickets! I have faith that they will find a new home for Groundhog Day, so that it will continue and everyone can get a chance to see it. They just have to, it's that good. I'd go as far to say it's one of the best musicals in London right now. Everything about it is just perfect from start to finish. They have done a fantastic job of casting, the actors are superb and remind you so much of the characters in the film. Tim Minchin's songs were as expected, original and clever. I found myself crying with laughter throughout the show and I left the theatre on such a high. I might be biased because of how much I love the film but I thought it was pure magic. Fingers crossed it comes back soon!

Tastemaker

I wasn't a fan of the movie much so I had no real reason to see this until I heard one of the ballads sung on the radio and just had to book it.  There are tiny, tiny bits of it that requires some improvement... I'd say mainly in annunciation / diction of the singing when it's a group and they are dancing.....  Also some of the choreography could be polished up (i.e. make it more believable that you are playing said instrument in a brass band).  However there are also some amazing singing and sequences that tips this over to a very enjoyable musical.  Unfortunately... none of the songs stuck in my head but what does remain is the message (at least for me) is to make the best of a any situation and be kind to one another.


I was a bit concerned after the first half an hour, thinking Tim Minchin was falling below the heights of his majestic Matilda.  Fortunately, Groundhog Day picks up after this point and nearly matches the magic of his first musical.  Andy Karl is fantastic in the lead role, but I can take or leave Carlyss Peer as support.  She lacks the luminosity of Andy McDowell in the film version. The musical numbers in the final two thirds are really superb, and it is so good to hear an original music score again, rather than a collection of songs from a singer or band. The production highlights the humour of the film and has some terrific set-pieces as well as set design, with even a bit of illusion thrown in.  It also reminded me how poignant the original is at times.  All in all, a great night at the theatre.


I didn't come away humming a tune but all the songs were quirky and funny. Overall it was an extremely enjoyable experience! I like your homage in the article too ;) 

tastemaker

All I can really say is that Tim Minchin is a genius!  This is a great musical and the best one I have seen for a while.  The lead actor is amazing and the supporting cast is also strong.  Yes, it’s cheesy in parts, but we all need a little of this in our lives at times!  The music is pretty simple, but the lyrics are fantastic and make you laugh out loud.  A must-see show!


An excellent Tim Minchin show! Not quite a musically satisfying as Matilda, but a real triumph. Fantastic staging and excellent acting from the lead. Be warned that the Old Vic can get quite hot, and that there are few toilets for women!


Gorgeous bit of fun - saw it twice in previews (went back to enjoy the lyrics as there was so much going on with the first viewing).  It's smart and funny, the cast work really hard, Andy Karl's performance demands words of praise not invented yet.  Already booked for the last performance and I may sneak another visit in between.  Love it!  


Tim Minchin lands another hit show into London. 

I can't give it 5 stars as its not quite up there with Matilda, but its very good - and a lot of fun. Some sections are truly brilliant. The drinks scene in the redneck bar especially. ( I am sure I have been there ! )

With Harry Potter and The Cursed Child at The Palace , Jesus Christ Superstar at The Open Air Regents Park and now Groundhog Day at The Old Vic, London and its theatres are really delivering the goods.


The film was great.  This is better.  Great performances from the whole cast.  There are so many lovely details buried away in the fantastic staging and the clever lyrics, that this show would, ironically, easily stand up to repeated viewing.


I loved the fact that this feel-good and moving show has not been toned-down to appease tender sensibilities involving much adult and risqué humour.  Teenagers will love it!


Highly recommended.  Can't wait to see it again when it inevitably transfers to the West End after its Broadway run.


This show is awesome.  Has everything you want but mostly it has class and lots of heart.  Already planning a third visit...or should that be 13th? Go see it!!


Saw this production last night.  Brilliant show and leaves you feeling happy.   Full of energy, fun, great music-clever lyrics, superior staging, fantastic set, strong characterisation across all the cast.  The lead is a Superstar - brilliant comic timing.  Impressive production with lots of layers of skills to marvel at.  The work that went into bringing it all together must of been immense.  Well done to all. Go see it - will raise your spirits. 


Disappointed in this.  After Matilda, the story just doesn't hit the sweet spot.  Agree with reviewer below, one act would have been enough, but it just carries on and becomes boring quite quickly, despite the effort of the hard working cast.  Really wanted to love it.


Fabulous and fun show. Brilliantly staged and directed. Lead characters were both superb. Recommended


Yet again, Tim Minchin proves to be a genius on the lyric front. With no strong feelings about the film itself, I was excited to see how they would deliver the same scene over and over again in theatreland. Brilliant staging, fantastic musical numbers and an impressive cast, most of whom were on the stage from start to finish. Brilliant!


Amazing, amazing, amazing! So well thought out, staging was unreal, acting was incredible and the music was great. Go and see this show!


Brilliant show Amazing transfer of a great film to the stage. Nothing missing.

Very comical, good vocals. Inclusion of choice language not necessary & possibly a reason for children to miss a splendid show. I've already booked to see it again


Saw this last night - just brilliant. Laugh out loud funny, very well staged and the cast have amazing energy. Andy Karl is fantastic. The choreography is amazing too they all seem to move like one body.  Really good fun, and so many good lines, I am sure we missed lots too! Have already booked to see it again in a couple of weeks, since its not around for long. Really hoping that the soundtrack is realised soon too. Some beautiful poignant songs too mixed in the with humour. Well deserved standing ovation.

tastemakerTastemaker

I didn't have any expectations for this show due to the fact that I am a fan of the original film and I wasn't sure how it would translate. Well, I was impressed. The music and lyrics are fantastic and engaging, as well as entertaining and funny. It's hard to find many adaptations as well-planned as this one. The lead actor was great and really played into the role, while the lead female added a great foil to the egocentric nature of the male. But what I really want to talk about is the staging. The staging was so impressive. SO IMPRESSIVE. I could write a whole review just on that and I would give it as many stars as I could. The way the stage rotated in an out of scenes, the actors juxtaposed just so in the perfect place to transition seamlessly between bed and breakfast to the street... it was incredible and I do hope the set designer receives a heap of accolades!!! 


Brilliant brilliant show! Great music and lyrics - laugh out loud funny! Works for those who have seen the original film and those who have not - highly recommended!


Amazing, amazing, amazing. I grinned all the way through. The staging, the script, the songs and the performances are excellent. It isn't an exact replica of the film but it is certainly of the same spirit and at points I would say it improves upon the source.

I've been thinking about it and I can not think of a single bad thing to say about it. Far and away the best show in theatre right now.


A wonderful musical, terrific staging, choreography and set

The lyrics were so witty, hope nobody minds if I say that they reminded me of Tom Lehrer

Highly recommend everyone who can to see it

By the way, can we buy the CD?


I saw this show last night and it was absolutely brilliant. One of the best musicals I've ever seen. Fantastically staged and the lead actor has been cast superbly. I'd highly recommend everyone to go and see this.


Always been a fan of Tim Minchin and his songs did not disappoint! 

Tastemaker

Absolutely outstanding, the best musical I've ever seen. 

Writing, staging, music - Tim Minchin is an absolute genius. I left grinning from ear to ear. 

The Old Vic is a wonderful setting - we bought restricted view tickets through Time Out, and the view was amazing, not a restriction in sight.

Just book your ticket immediately!


My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed this production. The actors were great and the script and music entertaining and compelling. It was a very hot day and we had the cheapest seats but it did not detract from a wonderful experience. Thank you to the whole company for a great experience. I would love to see it again from the stalls!


Absolutely fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.

I'm not usually a fan of musicals but Groundhog Day has changed my mind. It stayed very close to the film which was a good thing in my eyes. Bill Murrey is a hard act to follow but the actor playing Phil did an excellent job and totally held his own. The music and the staging were also outstanding and I was taken on an engaging, emotional journey!


This is hands down the best musical I've ever seen, and I've seen a fair few. This is the only musical where I haven't been bored at at least some point during the show. I was 100% engaged the entire way through. I also had (probably unfairly) high expectations of this musical because I love the movie, and I was afraid it would never be able to deliver, but it totally did: Superbly written, directed and performed. A great choice for a date night too!


Saw this musical at The Old Vic last night. I've got to admit up front that I'm a fan of the movie, but this theatrical version take it to another level! With music and lyrics by the great Tim Minchin, and a super talented lead in Andy Karl, this show is a winner! The whole cast more than carries their own weight, and the choreography and physical movement throughout is really well done. How they make scenes set in a neighbourhood come to life is really clever. As with the film version, there's some repetition (this is a major part of the plot of course), but the writers and actors handle this superbly - you are not bored for a second.

I can't say enough good things about this show. Definitely one of the highlights of London theatre at present. Two thumbs up! Get thee to the Old Vic!

PS: I wouldn't advise taking young kids to see it (even though I saw some in attendance last night) - teens would be fine though - because there are a couple of risque scenes and strong language in a few areas.

0 of 1 found helpful

Oh.... I never like to be negative, especially about art and talent. Of which the this show has spade loads but.... Too long, too 'theatre', I'll be shot down for this but, too predictable (I don't mean that in the sense of we know what would happen each day). The cast were great, the production was great but i just wanted to leave after 'act' 1 at 1 hour 20 mins. And then there was the other hour or so. Such a shame as I would listen to Tim read the phone book. The lyrics were second to none. Goes without saying