Matilda the Musical
Director: Matthew Warchus
Writer: Dennis Kelly (book), Tim Minchin (music and lyrics)
Based on: Roald Dahl‘s novel
Cast: Craige Els, Haley Flaherty, James Clyde, Kay Murphy, Lisa Davina Phillip, Jason Winter, Joshua Wyatt, Lottie Sicilia, Violet Tucker, Matilda Shapland, Tasha Chapple
Matilda (Lottie Sicilia, Violet Tucker, Matilda Shapland, Tasha Chapple – unfortunately I don’t know which version I saw) is extremely smart. Which makes her more than stand out in her family – neither her parents (James Clyde, Kay Murphy) nor her brother (Joshua Wyatt) are very intelligent. Or even interested in intellectual pursuits. So Matilda is looking forward to school where she hopes everything will be better. And her teacher Ms Honey (Haley Flaherty) is everything Matilda could have hoped for. But there is also the children-hating, sadistic headmistress Trunchbull (Craige Els) whose mission it is to make everybody miserable.
I really love the novel this is based on. And when I read that Tim Minchin had written the music, I knew that I had to see the show (how lucky that we happened to go to London). And my expectations were high. Fortunately, they were fulfilled.
Tim Minchin really does Roald Dahl justice with his music – the lyrics perfectly encapsulate Dahl’s dark and a little bitter sense of humor, with the added bonus of a bit of a Minchian twist. And the songs are very memorably and full of energy. It’s fun to listen to both the music and the lyrics.
And the stage design was wonderful. They worked with a clever system of cubes that could be lifted from the floor and bookshelves that could be pushed onstage from the sides, transforming from a classroom to a library to a bedroom in no time and very effectively. Plus, they incorporated books and alphabet cubes everywhere in their design which was really nice.
The cast was very good, too. I don’t know which Matilda I saw, but whoever it was of the girls, she did a great job. It’s Mrs Trunchbull though who has the scene stealing role – and Craige Els really makes the most of it. I laughed a lot, mostly thanks to him (and Tim Minchin’s lyrics).
The only weak spot was the choreography that was sometimes just a little too wooden, a little too obvious. Even with the kids I think that more could have been done. It just feels like they took the easy way out sometimes.
But that took nothing away from the general charm of the night even outside of the show itself, that started when we entered the theater – which was decorated with blackboards you could draw on – continued with the colorful slushies they sold and ended with me leaving with a huge grin on my face.