Observed on the 2nd February annually in the US, Groundhog Day is a tradition steeped in the belief that if a groundhog (badger) emerges from its den and sees its shadow, it’ll retreat to its den and winter will therefore continue for a following six weeks. Turned into a much loved film of the same name in 1993, it features Hollywood star Bill Murray as the story’s lead Phil Connors – a self assured weather man forced to relive Groundhog Day on repeat. The much loved film also enjoying life as a musical, making its debut at the Old Vic in 2016 before making its return 7 years later.
Andy Karl’s Phil Connors captivates, his all American bravado, unrivalled enthusiasm and effortless charm the show’s foundational core. Tanisha Spring’s Rita, a humble, intelligent, bubbly production assistant – a love interest that rightly tames Phil Connors and shows him what love really is. The show’s premise already an exciting one, but with a possibility of losing momentum within its repetitive nature. Matthew Warchus however directs a vivid encounter – packed full of heart and sincerity that has you root for Phil in what is a very unique situation.
We see Groundhog Day from the various perspectives of Phil’s day to day – a ladies’ man one moment, shrewd presenter the next, down on his luck at a down town bar thereafter. His interactions with the Punxsutawney locals sharp to begin with, gradually turning into more enlightening ones as the show progresses. His advantage of going into each repetitive day knowing, to a point, what will happen next both fascinating and comical to watch play out. Danny Rubin’s script is an entertaining one. The film turned play a philosophical encounter that asks for all to think of the what ifs?, and break away from usual patterns. Tim Minchin’s music and lyrics gives the show its characteristic lighthearted, relatable, small town feel – pop/rock offerings showing off vocal ability and adding a warmth to the evening.
Written by Lucy Basaba.
Groundhog Day is currently showing until Saturday 19th August 2023 at the Old Vic. To find out more about the production, visit here…