reviews · Uncategorized

Amazing Matilda

I returned from a morning smoko this week with hubby, utterly disappointed with my truly uninterested audience’s response to my review from having attended Matilda the Musical the night before! Fortunately I have a blog to express my views on too – so here is take 2 on my ravings, fingers crossed you are more appreciative 😛

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical as performed at the Adelaide Festival Theatre – *spoilers abound*

Walking into the theatre and seeing the set, was a bit like the Beast leading Belle into the castle’s library.

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Then came the first song, SO. MUCH. ENERGY. It was phenomenal, particularly the choreography.  The next highlight for me was the School Song, the lyrics to this (and again the dancing!) blew me away.

“So you think you’re a (A)ble
To survive this mess by be (B) ing a Prince or a Princess
You will soon see(C)
There’s no escaping tragedy (D)
And e (E) ven (E)
If you put in heaps of eff (F)ort
You’re just wasting energy(G)
‘Cause your life as you know it is an (H) cient  history

All the way through to … Just you wait for Phys-ed (Z)” (from Matilda London Cast – School Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics)

We soon meet Miss Trunchball – character perfection! First her (his) twirling baton in the first act but so much more spectacularly and hilariously in the song The Smell of Rebellion. The second act started with an almost comedic routine by Matilda’s Dad Mr. Wormwood. He started with the hallmarks of a ‘don’t try this at home’ warning, quite relevant for all the gymnastic moves we’d seen so far, but instead directed at reading. My niece was giving off death stares, how dare he speak against books and poor Nicole who put her hand up!

I can’t say enough how much the cast amazed me with their dancing. Favourites for me included Bruce, When I Grow Up (the swings!) and Revolting Children (particularly Bruce’s centre stage!)

All the characters were so well performed, Mrs Wormwood, Matilda’s brother Michael, Miss Honey, Miss Phelps and the Russian Boss with his pink lolly pop  – just to name a limited few. And to end it all off they came out for the finale riding colourful scooters.

It truly a masterpiece. Thank you to my family for taking me.

Within the program (which, yes I read cover to cover!) comments by the music and lyric and script writer’s (Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin) were written under the title Books vs Stories. Dennis Kelly suggested a very good research direction – ‘do chimps tell stories’ and do animals have imagination? For he proposed our imaginations are a ‘vibrant necessary part of being alive’ and ‘without stories we’re just eating machines with shoes’. I’ve just shared a video on FB in response to Pauline Hanson’s* hideous comments regarding (I believe) segregation of children on the autism disorder spectrum. Matilda the Musical demonstrates that there are two types of people – those who love stories and those who don’t. It is clear to me which group Ms Hanson is in – the mean, irritating and stupid. So unlike the Miss Honey’s of the world; kind generous, alive and loving. ‘Denying stories is denying the most human part of being a human.’ Much like Ms Hanson is deny the lived experience/story of all people with disabilities.

I also took away from this show not so much the message to be A Little Bit Naughty although Matilda taught it well but something I prefer to tell my children that

Just because you find that life’s not fair it
Doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it!
If you always take it on the chin and wear it
You might as well be saying
You think that it’s okay
And that’s not right!
And if its not right!
You have to put it right!

But nobody else is gonna put it right for me
nobody but me is gonna change my story

Tim Minchin wrote that ‘stories are best when… like a rollercoaster, with highs and lows, twists and turns, a good bit of fear and the significant risk that someone may vomit, ‘ which indeed Matilda had all, with music to accentuate all of these experiences.

After attending events like this I suddenly have a great desire to become a leading supporter of the Arts, unfortunately this like my dream job of being a philanthropist tends to go by the way side. But I do go a little bit crazy on Wikipedia and FB like-ing.  While as a christian I don’t think I can fully support Tim Minchin (renound atheist), his talent is undeniable and Matilda and Me his DVD is officially on my wishlist.

To finish off – interesting fact, Roald Dahl began writing Matilda when he was 70