Saturday, April 15, 2017

Groundhog Day


Andy Karl is such a charming, likable performer that he is reason enough to see this Broadway musical based on the 1993 film about an obnoxious weatherman caught in a time loop in Punxsutawney, PA on February 2nd. His ownership of the role of Phil Connors is enough to make you forget Bill Murray. The book, by the film’s screenwriter, Danny Rubin, follows the movie quite closely. The problem of including loads of repetition without inducing boredom is solved with some success, particularly in the second act. The music and lyrics by Tim Minchin (Matilda) are workmanlike. My main complaint about the show is that it is overproduced. The set by Rob Howell is overcomplicated and hyperactive to the point of distraction. The busyness onstage is frenetic to the point of exhaustion. Clearly no one involved with the production, including director Matthew Warchus (Matilda, God of Carnage) believes that less is more. I was also annoyed by the gratuitous profanity; dropping an F-bomb serves no purpose other than titillation. Peter Darling (Billy Elliott) has choreographed some lively numbers. [Unfortunately the star sustained an injury during “Philanthropy,” a big number near the end of the show, and will miss at least two performances.] Andrzey Goulding designed two attractive video collages that replace the curtain before each act. Barrett Doss, as love interest Rita Hanson, is pleasant but no Andie McDowell. Both Karl and the show just won Oliviers. The audience last night loved it. Running time: two hours 35 minutes.

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