Tim Minchin’s musical returns to the Old Vic Theatre for a brand new run – but are critics in love with it?

(c) Manuel Harlan

The Guardian: **** “So much of that is down to Tim Minchin. His music is fine if relentless, with songs coming thick and fast at first, none of the tunes memorable. But his lyrics are a blast, zinging with clever, quick wit. The show glows with bursts of comic brilliance as a result, and slightly better songs in the second half, such as Playing Nancy (sung by Eve Norris), about the woes of being a single, small-town woman, and If I Had My Time Again.”

iNews: **** “Director Matthew Warchus and composer/lyricist Tim Minchin were the creative power pairing behind the all-conquering Matilda the Musical. Global smash-hit magic doesn’t quite happen for a second time with this musical, which follows weatherman Phil Connors, who is seemingly destined to live out the same February day for ever. Yet the duo certainly know a thing or two about putting together an appealing show – and there is much to savour in a sharp, spiky story about saving oneself.”

Evening Standard: **** “Karl is well cast as Connors: smooth, cynical, with a hint of Patrick Bateman psychosis under the surface.” 

Broadway World: ***** “The production is a masterclass in stage craft; there is a brilliantly realised car chase, and a section where Phil repeatedly tries to kill himself, only to magically reappear elsewhere on stage, is simply magnificent.”

British Theatre.com: ***** “Andy Karl at its centre is a miracle of driving energy, his physical comedy irresistible from the scornful athleticism of his beginnings to his manic runs for escape or diversion (the drunk truck scene is a masterpiece of staging and lighting).  And there are small things too: A  kind of sigh rose from somewhere close to me in the enraptured audience at his morning line “There will be mornings when you’re utterly defeated by your laces’.”

Time Out: ***** “Ultimately, ‘Groundhog Day’ is a surprisingly profound exploration of how to live a good life by appreciating the wonder and specialness in the everyday: Rob Howell’s beautifully detailed set design seems to blossom as Phil’s cynicism melts away. It feels like a snowy American echo of another Old Vic hit, ‘A Christmas Carol’ – and one that also deserves to run, and run, and run.”

West End Best Friend: ***** “To say that Danny Rubin’s book takes you on a journey would be an understatement, as the original screenplay has truly been given the space to breathe on stage. Laugh-out-loud comedy and high emotion create the perfect blend of philosophical study and fulfilling evening entertainment. The utmost attention has been paid to chiselling out the very best of the film and then broadening it, allowing even the smaller characters to have their moment in the spotlight, as they teach Phil everything he needs to know without sounding like a prescribed lecture.”

The Stage: **** “Sharp, dark musical from Danny Rubin and the Matilda dream team, starring Andy Karl, makes a triumphant return.”

The Arts Desk: **** “Leading it again, Karl is still a galvanising force, perpetually in motion and hardly ever offstage. And with Matthew Warchus back in the director’s chair, the piece is as full-on, raucous and tricky as before.”

City Am: *** “Ultimately, Groundhog Day just isn’t a piece of theatre: rather it’s a dizzying attempt at recreating a film. There are some high notes but the ferocious hauling in and out of set pieces and the general air of chaos ends up leaving you shaken.”

The Reviews Hub: *** “Rob Howell’s set, a backdrop of miniature houses, onto which a revolving selection of bar, diner, and a dingy bedroom transition, cleverly evokes the small-town feel. If nothing else, you will leave this show wanting to see the original 1993 film again. Andy Karl’s version of Connors is a lot more poisonous than even Bill Murray’s misanthrope, which perhaps suits these more caustic, fractious times better.”

London Unattached: “Does Groundhog Day work as a musical? Certainly it does, although perhaps it is an unlikely vehicle for a story that encapsulates philosophical ideas from Buddhism to Nietzsche. All the component parts are in place – great lyrics, fine singing, great sets and visual effects, good choreography and ensemble work. It is a fun night of  entertainment with deeper layers of meaning and message about how to live one’s life.”

London Theatre.co.uk: ***** “Lets hope Groundhog Day makes it to the West End this time, so we can savour its brilliance again, and again, and again…”

The Telegraph: ***** “Tim Minchin’s musical adaptation of the famous 1993 film has head, heart and spark, and capitalises cleverly on its stuck-in-a-groove theme.”

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