THEATRE REVIEW: Groundhog Day

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE: Old Vic

WHEN: 1st preview 15/7, press night 16/8, runs to 17/9

24 hours before we are due to attend this 1st preview we receive an email from the venue saying the show’s not quite ready, designating it the final dress rehearsal, offering us full refunds and saying our tickets are still valid.

  • Read on for details of this production’s Broadway run

Fast forward 24 hours and it’s a real PR coup and the ultimate feel good Friday night. monstagigz is an Old Vic member and we’ve already decided we’re putting our £120 refund in our account to spend on future shows at this, one of our favourite venues.

Groundhog Day director/Old Vic artistic director Matthew Warchus takes to the stage beforehand to explain whats happening with author Danny Rubin and composer Tim Minchin to ask the audience not to spoil the show’s surprises for others on social media.

It’s a very 2016 request and especially odd given the musical remains faithful to the 90s film starring Bill Murray. We’d never risk spoilers that would ruin things for you, dear reader, and, in fact, exist to give you the heads-up early on things worth seeing, which this very much is.

For the uninitiated it’s the story of unlovable TV weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl, excellent) who travels to small American town Punxsutawney with his producer (Carlyss Peer, the best reason to see the show) to report the 2 February tradition where a groundhog predicts the arrival of spring. He gets caught in a repeating day where only he is aware that he is stuck in an eternal loop.

Especially good is the revolving stage and sight gags involving luminous cars/houses and Karl disappearing and reappearing quickly in unexpected places.

The score is far more varied than Matilda (the last big Warchus/Minchin hit) and for us standout number If I Had My Time Again was marred because we couldn’t quite hear how rude Karl was being. If you’re looking for comparisons we’d say this has the potential to be as big as Legally Blonde, another hit musical to spring much later from a successful movie.

What perhaps gives Groundhog Day the edge is that it has so much heart and such a social conscience that it gave us massive It’s A Wonderful Life chills.

At the end Warchus takes to the stage and thanks the audience for its prolonged standing ovation and urges us to pay to see the show. This was the first time it had run successfully all the way through.

We’ll definitely return later in the run because, as with all musicals, it’s a show that will find its feet much later than this 1st preview.

In fact, it’s already been confirmed that this production is to open on Broadway in March with its first previews in January.

Four stars then, for now. But it’s an absolute cracker of a show and we expect that when we pay it a return visit it will be worth the full five stars.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Old Vic. Tickets here
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham

9 comments

  1. Charlotte · July 16, 2016

    I appreciate that you want to share your thoughts on this show, but you really ought not to review a 1st preview.

    Like

  2. mrmonstagigz · July 16, 2016

    Thank you for your comments. We thought long and hard about posting a review. We chose to do so because we’re unlike most blogs in that we only comment on material we like. So there’s much we see, aren’t keen on but don’t publicise. There’s nothing quite like a bit of positive word of mouth after all! We value your opinion and wouldn’t wish to censor it.

    Like

  3. James · July 17, 2016

    I was there too and it was great!
    Think the Broadway transfer was axed after one of the executive producers pulled out sadly!

    Like

  4. mrmonstagigz · July 17, 2016

    That’s a shame James. It’s still listed here: http://www.broadwayworld.com/shows/upcomingshows.php but you may well be right.

    Like

  5. Ryan Smedley · July 22, 2016

    Holding all fingers crossed it makes it to Broadway! Scott Rudin, a major producer, backed out last month so they’re trying to find the people with the money right now.
    Living in Australia and so jealous I don’t get to see or hear this show yet!!

    Like

  6. mrmonstagigz · July 22, 2016

    Interesting BBC piece on the show which references Broadway: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-36855788

    Like

  7. mrmonstagigz · July 23, 2016

    Scott Rudin’s departure covered in a paywalled feature in today’s Times: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/groundhog-day-the-musical-can-success-repeat-itself-ttfgdzphr

    Like

  8. Pingback: THEATRE REVIEW: Groundhog Day starring Andy Karl & Carlyss Peer | monstagigz
  9. Pingback: TOP 5: Best read monstagigz content of 2016 | monstagigz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s