Matilda The Musical was the first time in my life I have ever paid to listen to a group of kids be loud, boisterous and run around like their pants were on fire. And I have to admit, I loved it! Matilda The Musical opened last night in Melbourne to roaring applause and a standing ovation. I even spotted Burt and Patty Newton with great big smiles on their faces. What an honour it would have been for the cast to have Burt, the king of Australian television and theatre stand up and applaud them. It sure gave me tingles. I am sure those young men, women and children who entertained us last night will be talking about their opening night in Melbourne for years to come.
Matilda The Musical has been a lesson in patience for many fans who have been waiting and wondering whether the show was ever going to come to Australia. Since the shows first 12 week run at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Warwickshire, England in 2010, the musical reached out with its talented score, designs and cast and took over the world. From the acclaimed West End Theatres in London to the famed Broadway Theatres in New York’s Manhattan, but it is us Australians who have waited the longest. After Matilda the Musical has spent the past 5 years wooing audiences around the world, the show finally came home.
So why do Australians feel such a connection to the award-winning show? One name – Tim Minchin. After growing up in Perth, Tim attended the University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), before moving to Melbourne in 2002. His show The Darkside launched him into the public eye, achieving critical success at the 2005 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the 2005 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. But it was December of 2008, when director Matthew Warchus approached Tim about writing the music and lyrics for a stage musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s famous book, that catapulted Tim into a world-wide name. It wasn’t difficult to see why everyone felt so proud entering the Princess Theatre last night.
So who is Matilda, and what is it about? Matilda – The Musical is based on the children’s novel of the same name by author Roald Dahl. The delightful book was first published in 1988, and told the story of a young English girl who was often neglected by her parents. In retaliation, Matilda would put glue in her fathers hat, put bleach in her fathers shampoo and even hid a friend’s parrot in the chimney to simulate a burglar or ghost. Despite her attempts at gaining her parents attention, Matilda, sadly, remained an outsider within her own family.
At school, Matilda forms a close friendship with her teacher Miss Honey. A wonderful role model who tries to move Matilda into a higher class after learning of her abilities. The scary headmaster, Miss Trunchbull, refuses to acknowledge Matilda’s intelligence and soon after she terrorizes not only Matilda, but her fellow students as well. When Matilda’s friend, Lavender, plays a practical joke on Miss Trunchbull by placing a newt in her jug of water, Matilda uses an unexpected power of telekinesis to tip the glass of water containing the newt onto Miss Trunchbull. After Matilda reveals her powers to Miss Honey, Miss Honey reveals that she was raised by an abusive aunt (hmm…wonder who that could be? 😉
To avenge Ms Honey, Matilda telekinetically raises a piece of chalk against the blackboard and, in the resulting writings, poses as the spirit of Miss Honey’s late father, demanding that Miss Trunchbull leave the region forever. With the approval of the school’s new Head-teacher, Matilda is advanced to the highest level of schooling. One day Matilda finds her parents hastily packing to escape from the Russian mafia who were after her father for selling dodgy used cars. Matilda asks permission to live with Miss Honey, to which her parents rather disinterestedly agree, and so she and Miss Honey both find their happy ending.
If you would like to see Matilda, I have included a few links for your perusal. Enjoy x x x