Groundhog Day- Musical

Today I saw Groundhog Day at the August Wilson Theatre in NYC. This is the third show I've seen on Broadway – And the first one I've thoroughly enjoyed. Groundhog Day is a musical adaptation of the film by Tim Minchin. I've never seen the film, so this was my first encounter of the story. I didn't know what I expected, but it wasn't what I saw.

The film translated surprisingly well to the stage, with the lighting providing a clear visualisation of the days repeating themselves. Usually I would hate a show that tried to be a film, however in this production, they did that, but very effectively, when dealing with scenes that were hard to adapt to the stage – For example, the police chase scene. The show was repetitive, but not boring by any stretch. Tim Minchin brought the wackiness and surreality of the film to the stage. Notably with a wonderfully, darkly comedic song about suicide, called 'Hope'.

The cast were fantastic, you couldn't help but fall a little in love with weatherman Phil Conners (Andy Karl). And everyone found comfort in Barrett Doss's Rita Hanson. The duo worked brilliantly together, and their voices complimented each other beautifully. The characters were full of life. Every character had their own story. They were never just there for the sake of it.

It was wacky, fun, truthful- with a message without being condescending, and it was funny.

Unfortunately Groundhog Day is closing tomorrow, however it is rumored to be returning to London, and I would highly recommend checking it out if you can.

 

( I do have a backlog of reviews to get up- mainly from the Fringe and I will get them up when I have a chance! But from now until December, I will be based in New York, so will be reviewing shows over here)

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Amadeus – National Theatre

Tonight I went to see Amadeus, at the National, after trying to get a ticket for ages. Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, follows the story of Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the 1700s.

The music, as expected, was spectacular. Having the musicians on stage is a great touch, and blurred the lines between theatre and concert.  The musicians also made up the chorus, and the ensemble movement pieces, were a nice touch, stopping it from becoming a two-man show. Speaking of the two men. Lucian Msamti, Salieri, was great, his powerful stature, meant that he addressed the audience with confidence, and in the second half, truly had power. Adam Gillan, Mozart, brought the youthfulness that the show needed, with it being set in the 1700s, this was all aided by the little modern elements, that were shown every once in a while. Where Msamati spoke to the audience, Gillan, commanded the audience, or he pandered to them – I honestly can’t tell. I loved it though. It lightened up the piece, and the language, felt more 21st century, rather than 18th.  On the other hand, Karla Crome, Constanze, was also brilliant, her presence was more subtle than her counterpart, Gillan, however just as powerful. Also Fleur de Bray, Katherina, had a glass shattering voice.

The musicians stayed on stage, for most of the show, in an orchestra set-up. The centre of the stage dipped for the performances of the operas. There was also a permanent secondary stage located at the back of stage, and in moments of climax it was pulled forward, shrouding the audience in some sort of angelic light. Michael Longhurst, the director, made no effort to hide that it is a theatrical production, with the costumes visible on stage, and the vintage, operatic style, backdrops.

 

Overall a very modern look, on a classic story. Showing a rollercoaster of human emotion and human life. The madness of genius.