WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE: Old Vic
WHEN: 17/9, runs to 19/9
64 days ago we went to the final rehearsal of this Tim Minchin musical and were invited by director Matthew Warchus to pay for tickets if we enjoyed that free show.
- Read on for what happens next for Groundhog Day when it closes 19/9
We did, giving it four stars, and now we’re delighted to be returning for what was the last night until the Old Vic recently added a final show Monday. We’re seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Doctor Faustus at the Barbican that night so wouldn’t have been able to make it anyway.
Going to previews of musicals is especially problematic because there’s often so much going on (and Groundhog Day looks especially complicated) repetition really does enhance the show.
We predicted we’d give this new musical from the team behind Matilda five stars on our penultimate night return – and so it proves. Variety reports that it will open on Broadway in April and we’d not bet against current leading man Andy Karl reprising that role. We’ve shed tears during Carlyss Peer’s (see below) big number If I Had my Time Again (very Green Day on second listening) and would love for her to make the Broadway cast.
On second viewing there’s much we want to point out. The first song in the second half Nancy is just perfect. Addressing women’s role in theatre/film as well as signalling where we’re going. Clue: down. The suicide section that follows is as dark as the alternative medicine section in the first half is comic: ‘Who needs enemas when you’ve friends like these?’ Indeed.
We’ve pondered over the It’s A Wonderful Life chills sparked here before but the section with the tramp and: ‘No one dies on my watch’ declaration prompts tears. That there’s a brief nod to a gay character makes our heart burst.
We absolutely love the Irish flourishes and, for us, this is very much the grown up Matilda, as irreverent and memorable as that classic.
Captain Fantastic‘s George MacKay is here beaming in the bar at the interval. We think Groundhog Day will do just fine on Broadway. Return business? Don’t bet against it.