Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Matilda the Musical

On Valentines day myself and A went to see Matilda. I'd been hearing good things about it and I'm a fan of Tim Minchin, so I was desperate to see it. Not to mention I love the film as well.
If you've seen the film you will know that the story centres around a young girl whom is extremely bright for her age, and is unappreciated by her family. I'd go so far as to say she is neglected by her family. Both the film and the musical are based on Roald Dahl's popular story of the same name. The musical hit London's West End in the face and has become very popular amongst children and thespians alike.
Upon arriving, the Cambridge Theatre is decked out in chalk boards with child-like drawings, jokes and messages with extra chalk for the audience members to add their own messages and answer the questions. At the bar there were character themed drinks, the most memorable was Mrs Wormwood's-glitterberry J2O and vodka (or something to that effect). Upon entering the auditorium the stage is open, enabling the audience to get a good look at the amazing set. I can't imagine how long it would have taken to paint all of the blocks and lettering. Actually I have an inkling of how long that would take having studied performance management at uni.
The show opens with a birthday party, and I was blown away by the talent of the group of children on the stage. They were unbelievable, excellent movement and facial expressions. So disciplined for children so young. The next scene was a birthing scene where we meet Matilda's parents. Mr and Mrs Wormwood are both very large, exuberant characters. Almost overly large. I was not sure about them at all, which made me worry I would not like the rest of the production. As it turned out, this worry was unnecessary. The rest of the production was amazing. In retrospect I can understand why the characters are so...for lack of a better word...irritating. We as an audience are not meant to like them, and that is the point. The fact that I felt dislike for them is a credit to the actors playing those roles.
On the subject of noteworthy chracters, of course I must give The Trunchball her due. The first time we see her is with her back to us in her office, while Miss Honey is trying to work up the courage to knock on the door. The actor playing her was very good. The voice work he must have done for Trunchball worked really well with the character, and she was one of the best played characters. One of my absolute favorite parts was the moment I heard 'Amanda Thrip...' as soon as this was said I got very excited and looked and A breifly (who endures my excitable moods and knew instantly why I was so happy) before turning back to watch one of my favourite scenes from the film, which is followed by a girl being bodily thrown by Trunchball.
There are quite a few scenes and numbers worth mentioning, but I'm going on far too long as it is. One I will mention was the first number to really blow my mind and put a huge wow smile on my face. This was the first schoolyard number (I believe it is called School Song). The wow was for the choreography alone, never mind the music and lyrics. I could enthuse about this forever it was that good. Another to mention is Matilda's story. There are several scenes in the library where Matilda is telling the librarian a story. This is split through the show, and the way in which it was told was creative and dramatic. I couldn't take my eyes from it, and I won't spoil it for you, but I worked out who's story Matilda was really telling really early on. I'm good at that sort of thing. The opening of Act 2 was yet another spectacle to behold, using a slide and rope swings for the song 'When I Grow Up'.
Being a little bit of a theatre geek, I have to mention the stage and set. It was so well done, that I didn't suspect a thing until it happened, and then I was happily suprised. I won't go into detail as I don't want to ruin the wonderment.
Matilda is brilliant mix of humour and darkness. Very Tim Minchin. There are so many good things I could write about this musical, but I wouldn't want to ruin the fun for those wanting to go and see it. Which I highly recommend you do. Right now. Next showing is at 7pm.