As soon as I heard the announcement of Groundhog Day opening at the Old Vic, I knew I had to get tickets to see this exciting new musical. Based on the 1993 film of the same name, I was looking forward to seeing how the venturesome concept of the film would be adapted for the stage.
The plot follows the story of narcissistic weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl), who finds himself reliving the same day over again trapped in the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. At first, I was worried that the purposely repetitive plot would get boring, but in no way could this ever happen with the genius direction of Matthew Warchus, teamed with a book by Danny Rubin and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. The slick and intricate staging really sets this musical aside from anything else I have seen recently; from the cleverly staged car chase to the complicated turntable stage – which the whole production revolves around (pun intended), I enjoyed every minute of this performance.
Andy Karl as the protagonist is an absolute dream to watch, his voice and stage presence are perfectly matched to the score and book, as he gives the character a charismatic charm which is both endearing and slimy. The character is incredibly dislikable throughout the first act as he is shown to be narcissistic, egotistical, and uninterested in the feelings of those around him; regularly putting down other people in a bullying fashion. It isn’t until act two that the audience sees a different side to Phil Connors, when he realises that in order to get out of the nightmarish loop that has become his life, he must help others and not be focused solely on his own interests.
Alongside Karl is Carlyss Peer as TV producer Rita. Peer gives the role a personable edge as she navigates the repetitive plot, the character is not the typical love interest as she is disgusted by and rejects the protagonist’s appalling sexual advances. The ensemble is enthusiastic and brings the production together as they relive the exhausting Groundhog Day countless times.
Groundhog Day is easily one of the best productions currently playing in London, with its slick choreography and attention to detail, it is an absolute joy to watch. Catch it at the Old Vic, running until 17th September. Fingers crossed for a cast album and West End Transfer!