Friday, 19 August 2016

Theatre review: Groundhog Day

Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 2nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.
Some things seem such bad ideas on the surface it's amazing to think of them succeeding once, let alone twice. The 1993 film Groundhog Day has a story based entirely around repetition, which should have made it struggle to entertain anyone, but of course it went on to become one of the best-loved comedies of all time. That global affection is a double-edged sword for any adaptation, as a guaranteed audience is also an audience likely to judge extremely harshly if they don't feel justice has been done to the original. Throw in a bit of Difficult Second Album Syndrome for songwriter Tim Minchin after the huge success of Matilda, and you've got a show with a lot of pressure on it. Minchin is joined by the film's screenwriter Danny Rubin to adapt the story whose setting comes from a genuine, eccentric local tradition.

On the 22nd of February every year, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a ceremony in which a groundhog "predicts" how much longer winter will last.


Weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) is a misanthrope at the best of times, but being made to travel to Punxsutawney to report on such a hokey event brings out the worst in him. He's snowed in after the broadcast and stuck in the town, but he's actually a lot more trapped than he realises: Thanks to some kind of supernatural event that, famously, is not even remotely explained, he finds himself repeating the same day a seemingly infinite amount of times. Nothing about his experience can change except what he affects directly and, like in the film, it's the tiny or huge differences in both events and Phil's reactions to them that make the story come to life.


Matthew Warchus directs a production that revels in theatricality every bit as much as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and even has a couple of similar illusions to make us see Phil zip back to the same starting point mid-scene.) It opens with a visual gag involving a tiny toy van travelling across the stage with a little help from what turns out to be not a triple revolve but a quadruple one. In fact Rob Howell's design, which mixes images of small-town Americana with themes of weather maps in the backdrops, works constantly and fluidly with the ensemble cast in Peter Darling's choreography to make the stage come to constant life and keep up the energy.


Karl is excellent in the lead, both vocally and in making Phil a deeply unpleasant character who over the course of (as estimated by people who care a lot about these things) roughly 33-and-a-half years of the same day turns into a deeply lovable one. He's well-matched by love interest Rita, in fact here the stage version has an advantage over the film as there she was Andie MacDowell, whereas here she's played by Carlyss Peer, so can actually pass for a living human being.


My initial reaction to Minchin's songs is that they're great but not necessarily memorable until we get to a showstopper where Phil gets drunk with two brothers whose normal lives resemble his own repetitive one; but then that's almost always my initial reaction to new musicals, even Matilda, and I'm usually wrong, so there's probably several of them that will eventually make it onto my iPod. As the first act's frantic comedy makes way for the dark humour of the second's opening number - a fourth wall-breaking solo by minor character Nancy (Georgina Hagen) about always being cast as a one-dimensional sex object - then a chirpy song accompanied by several suicide attempts, Groundhog Day gets deeper and even more satisfying as Phil becomes the best version of himself that he can in one (infinitely repeating) day. This is funny, moving, joyously theatrical and surely one of the shows of the year - Broadway's getting it next so the few remaining tickets at the Old Vic are the only chance left to see it in London for the foreseeable future but I'm sure that, like the irritating Punxsutawney Phil jingle that wakes Phil up every morning, it'll be back.

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin is booking until the 17th of September at the Old Vic.

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan.

2 comments:

  1. erm... 2nd of February is Groundhog day

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The number 2 MYSTERIOUSLY REPEATED ITSELF!

      Delete