At 27 years old, I have no qualms in admitting that Matilda is my favourite film of all time. When I first watched the film it immediately became my firm favourite and almost two decades on, it looks like it always will be. I was therefore ecstatic (not an exaggeration) when friends savvily bought me tickets to the theatrical version of Roald Dahl’s book as a Christmas present.
I have treasured memories of watching the film in my ’90s front room whilst adorned with Spice Girls couture. I was sure that the show would not be as great as the film however Matilda the Musical turned out to be a tinchy bit better.
Deciding to become a pushy parent
The show started with a catchy song about how spoilt some children are compared to Matilda. The ‘My mummy says I’m a miracle’ number came complete with doting parents and over indulged children at a birthday party scene.
From the very beginning the singing and acting was on point. The start of this song was the exact moment that I decided that if I had a child that I would definitely endeavour to become a pushy parent so that they could become cool and theatrically adept too.
Then the actress who played Matilda came on stage. She remembered a crazy amount of lines, knew precisely where she had to be and sang perfectly whilst everybody watched her the entire time. She was amazing. Seeing the awesomeness of the actress who played Matilda was the moment, that I decided that being a pushy parent was maybe not a very good idea. The actress was super talented and seemed as though she had somehow packed decades of stage experience into her little life. However, I’m pretty sure that all of the rehearsing it takes to get to that level of splendour takes away from precious time that she should be spending rolling around in mud like a normal child. Watching all of the brilliant pint- sized actors got me wondering; what happens to the money that child actors make? Can parents just take it?
The meticulous splendour continued and the character of Miss Honey was introduced. She stood out at as one of the most rounded characters of the show. The actress who played Matilda could definitely perform and sing but the character seemed like too much of an irritating, know-it-all for my liking. Miss Trunchable, who was played by a man, was funny but was just your average, one dimensional pantomine villain.The actress who played Miss Honey clearly showed the character’s vulnerability and kindness in every movement and line.
Miss Honey’s part in the show helped me realise that despite all of my years of watching the film, I never quite saw the link between Matilda’s life and her teacher’s. In the theatrical version, the similarities between Matilda’s life and Miss Honey’s were crystal clear. Matilda did not have a great childhood as her parents neglected her and thought she was just a nuisance whilst Miss Honey spent her childhood with her mean, murderous aunt.
Chess- like Stage Management
The logistics of the show were amazing. It was so high-tech that the audience were warned about some of the mise en scene devices which were used.
There were revolving scenes, lasers and a fence which suddenly transpired on stage. It seems like being the stage manager for the theatrical version of Matilda is akin to playing a serious game of chess.
The beauty of the show’s organisation was at it’s pinnacle in the finale. All the actors came out on colourful scooters in perfect synchronisation as the audience gave them a round of applause.The actress who played Matilda had a well deserved standing ovation. I was genuinely disappointed when all of the actors left the stage when the show was over. Unfortunately, I can not watch the show countless times like I do with the film but I definitely plan to see it again.
© Cultural Magpie