Groundhog Day The Musical
The Epitome of Artistry, Unveils a Time-Bending Symphony of Talent
Reviewed by Brendan Daynes
Groundhog Day The Musical has premiered at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre on Thursday, February 1st, showcasing the collaborative brilliance of Tim Minchin, Danny Rubin, and Matthew Warchus. With a record-breaking return at London’s Old Vic, this production, is a must-see. Melbourne, only the third city to host this enchanting musical comedy, is about to enjoy a 13-week exclusive run, graced by sold-out previews that set the stage for its triumphant arrival.
The narrative, adapted from the iconic 1993 film, delves into profound themes of self-discovery, redemption, and the profound impact one can have on others. The captivating journey of Phil Connors, brought to life with remarkable depth and conviction by the superb Andy Karl, takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster. As Connors grapples with the nuances of repeated days, the musical prompts reflection on complex questions about life, love, and the relentless pursuit of happiness. Alongside him, Elise McCann shines as the quick-witted and kind-hearted Rita Hanson, adding a layer of grace and charm to the production. McCann’s portrayal embodies Rita with a beautiful blend of tenderness and humour, creating a captivating dynamic between the two characters that enhances the overall thematic exploration of the musical.
The ensemble cast, a powerhouse of talent featuring Afua Adjei, Grant Almirall, Kaya Byrne, Kate Cole, Rachel Cole, Benjamin Colley, Andrew Coshan, Andrew Dunne, Madison Green, Matthew Hamilton, Matt Hourigan, Michael Lindner, Etuate Lutui, Conor Neylon, Ashleigh Rubenach, Jacob Steen, Connor Sweeney, Alison Whyte, Tim Wright, and Kate Yaxley, truly deserves a resounding standing ovation. Their seamless transitions showcase not only their versatility but also their unwavering dedication to the craft. Whether tackling large or unique roles, each member contributes significantly to the cohesiveness and allure of the production. Performing the same musical numbers repeatedly due to the show’s distinctive subject matter, the ensemble displays an unparalleled level of precision and artistry. This group’s extraordinary ability to make each rendition feel fresh and nuanced is a testament to their remarkable skill and commitment to delivering top-notch performances.
From the first note to the final curtain call, every element is a demonstration of the extraordinary creativity and talent that graces the stage. The creative team, led by the prolific Tim Minchin, delivers a production that is nothing short of sublime. Rob Howell’s set and costume design transport the audience seamlessly to the small town of Punxsutawney, capturing the essence of each moment with meticulous attention to detail. The sets, dynamic and versatile, move in perfect harmony, creating a world where Phil Connors is perpetually stuck in a surreal loop. Costumes, reflective of the time and location, are not just garments but characters in themselves, enhancing the overall immersive experience. The lighting, masterfully crafted by Hugh Vanstone, adds depth and variety to the ever-repeating locations, navigating the chaos of the storyline with finesse. Special mention must be made for the illusions and special effects, masterfully orchestrated by Paul Kieve. His wizardry on stage was nothing short of spectacular, leaving the audience in awe, eliciting gasps of amazement that echoed through the theatre. Andrzej Goulding’s enthralling video and animation work, while occasionally understated, proved instrumental in moulding the show’s ambiance, adding to the encompassing enchantment that held the audience spellbound.
Lizzie Gee’s choreography is a highlight of the production, providing a tight and unified visual spectacle that complements the musical’s complex narrative. The cast’s execution of Gee’s choreography is nothing short of exceptional, showcasing a group that operates as a finely tuned ensemble. A surprising tap number in the second act adds an unexpected layer to the show, demonstrating the cast’s versatility across multiple disciplines. The choreography, an integral part of the storytelling, captures the essence of each repeated day with nuanced variations, a testament to the skill and dedication of the performers. These elements intricately layer the narrative, leaving the audience in sheer awe.
Groundhog Day The Musical is a theatrical escapade that captivates, entertains, and connects with its audience. This production is not just a celebration of talent; it’s a celebration of the limitless possibilities that the theatre can offer. From the dazzling production elements to the exceptional performances, every facet of this show is a demonstration of the magic that can be achieved on stage.
Groundhog Day The Musical is a Whistle Pig production, produced in Australia by GWB Entertainment, supported by Victoria’s Tourism and Major Event fund, Visit Victoria. In a groundbreaking collaboration with The Old Vic, this musical sensation has etched its name on the global stage. Set to captivate Melbourne audiences at the Princess Theatre for an exclusive 13-week season, this limited engagement is an unmissable event. For further details or to secure your tickets, visit https://groundhogday.com.au/