Back to 2016
2016/09/10 night – Groundhog Day, Old Vic Theatre
I remember the movie with Bill Murray being quite nice, but watching it made me think that living the same day hundreds time would be a nightmare, so I didn’t watch it again. I don’t know why US screenwriters are often focused on things like that, we see many movies or tv series where the protagonist gets the power to change the events.
But the announcement of a musical version made me intrigued, I found it more challenging in being staged than filmed, for what theatre can offer to an audience with creativity.
I wouldn’t have missed Groundhog Day! It’s a very amusing musical with beautiful songs and dance, magic, a fine cast and an amazing set design! But I also realise that it’s hard to write about it and return the atmosphere. I changed this report several times, because I wasn’t satisfied. So I decided to tell just few things…
The story of the TV weatherman Phil Connors, who finds himself trapped in a time loop, living every time the 2nd of February, is brilliantly described with a great interaction and timing by the cast, who have to play the same scenes several times, and an impressive stage design that changes like a kaleidoscope from one scene to another. There are many amazing stage tricks.
For example, in one scene the little white houses on the background are taken by some members of the cast and collected together at the centre of the stage, shaping the streets of the city, where a police car is chasing a van driven by a drunk Phil and his two new friends.
The beginning of the second time is particularly magic! We see all the attempts of suicide Phil commits, but every time he comes out of his bed at the centre of the stage, while another Phil is killing himself again, like if the actor was a wizard! It makes you astonished!
It’s also very funny seeing how much Phil changes along the story – full of himself at first, womanizer at some point, even violent, but later he understands his behavior does not lead him anywhere – and all the efforts he makes to try to change his fate, to make people around him happy and to conquer the heart of his colleague Rita Hanson. It’s also a story that talks about solitude, now I realise that.
You may think it’s repetitive, but you never get bored, because it’s a very dynamic staging, and even the most dramatic moments are tempered with irony. The music and songs are riveting and wrap you like a mantle of snow. The two protagonist, Andy Karl and Carlyss Peer, are well casted respectively as Phil and Rita, and they’re both brilliant as actors and singers. I loved the assolo by Andrew Langtree/Ned Ryerson alone in the night. It’s a very good ensemble all around.
A mention to the beautiful costumes, most of the characters dressed in modern style, but also to the uniforms of the band who plays music.
Now that I read my words again, I should start to write my report again, making it better.
Pity that Groundhog Day is going to end in London this week, but the transfer to Broadway has been announced already for the next year. They should play it again and again and again and again….
Sorry for the hundreds “again”!
Some photos I took myself:
Now, if you want to read further….
Cast and Creatives and their Twitter accounts:
Andy Karl: Phil Connors @
Carlyss Peer: Rita Hanson
Leo Andrew (Jenson)
David Birch (Chubby man)
Ste Clough (Jeff) @
Roger Dipper (Deputy – Understudy Ned Ryerson) @
Georgina Hagen (Nancy) @
Kieran Jae (Fred) @
Julie Jupp (Mrs Lancaster)
Andrew Langtree (Ned Ryerson) @
Vicki Lee Taylor (Lady storm chaser – Understudy Nancy) @
Emma Lindars (Doris)
Antonio Magro (Sheriff – Understudy Phil Connors) @
Carolyn Maitland (Joelle – Understudy Rita Hanson)
Kirsty Malpass (Piano teacher) @
Matthew Malthouse ( him) @
Lisa Mathieson (Swing)
Eugene McCoy (Larry) @
Jenny O’Leary (Debbie) @
Leanne Pinder (Swing/Dance Captain) @
Mark Pollard (Buster)
Damien Poole (Swing/Assistant Dance Captain) @
Jack Shalloo (Ralph) @
Andrew Spillett (Gus)
Spencer Stafford (Swing)
Creative Team without whom the magic couldn’t be possible:
Danny Rubin: Book @
Tim Minchin: Music and Lyrics @
Matthew Warchus: Director
Peter Darling: Choreographer
Ellen Kane: Co-Choreographer
Rob Howell: Set and Costume Designer
Christopher Nightingale: Orchestration, Additional Music & Musical Supervisor
Hugh Vanstone: Lighting
Simon Baker: Sound
Paul Kieve: Illusions @
Finn Caldwell: Additional Movement @ (not sure)
Andrzej Goulding: Video @
David Grindrod CDG: Casting
LINKS & SOURCES
Old Vic Theatre Official Site oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2016/groundhog-day/