Thoughts on Matilda – The Musical

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While I was in Sydney for Oz Comic Con, I thought I would take the opportunity to see Matilda – the Musical at the Lyric Theatre at The Star Casino while I was there. This is what I thought!

SPOILERS

I often like to go into musicals not really knowing what to expect. This was the case for Matilda. I thought I remembered the movie quite well, but once the musical began, I became to get confused if I really remembered the movie at all. The movie slowly came back to me after watching, but I definitely had to stretch my mind back many years to remember anything apart from the main plot from the movie.

Firstly, I want to mention how much I loved the set. I recommend getting there early so you can try and find the words hidden in the set. Very very cool. Usually I don’t like when a musical doesn’t have many sets – but this time it didn’t bother me. I thought the set and stage design was all very well done.

Perhaps if I was to nit pick, the one drawback would be the lack of chokey. The chokey is such an iconic part of the movie that it would have been cool to see an actual chokey set-piece. What appears in the musical can only be described as the chokey 2.0 – an impressive laser show that filled the audience with light. Yes, it was cool. And yes, I kind of liked it – but I wanted to see the set piece. Both, if possible, would have been great.

There is another part of the movie that stands out in my mind – and that is when Miss Trunchbull spins Amanda around by her pigtails and throws her off into the distance. I thought there was NO WAY that they were going to have this in the musical – but they did. And I was so pleased! She also stretches some kids ears but that is less successful and iconic than the Amanda-toss, which it shall now be known as.

Also, it wouldn’t be Matilda without Bruce eating the chocolate cake. I still can’t figure out how this was done – but I’m happy the scene is in the musical. Speaking of Bruce for a second, what an absolute superstar during Revolting Children. Love the dance moves, Bruce!

To be fair, I can’t fault any of the children cast. Actually, come to think of it, I can’t fault any of the adult cast too. The standout has to be James Millar playing Miss Trunchbull. When she first came on stage I thought straight away that it had to be a man – and it is, but that makes it all the more funny. He actually reminded me of Milo from Full Frontal. Or at least, the Trunchbull could easily be Milo’s brother. Don’t you see it too?

It’s not often that I like all the songs in a musical – but I did in this. The soundtrack is brilliant. I only wish I had had the foresight to buy an album before leaving the theatre. The songs immediately got stuck in my head – and usually that’s said in a bad way, but this was for all the right reasons. Miracle, Revolting Children and School Song are definitely my repetitive favourites.

I thought the changes from the movie may bother me – like they did in Legally Blonde. I often think these changes are uncalled for. But I didn’t mind in Matilda. I was confused as to why the story of the escapologist got so much “air-time” (for a lack of better word) but it all made sense in the end and I thought that that was very clever. Although I would have liked to have seen Matilda rescuing Miss Honey’s favourite doll/chocolates from Miss Trunchbull’s home, I am okay with this not being in the musical. I think the overall resolution or conclusion to the story is very well done.

Let’s appreciate the genius that is School Song for a second. What is done with the visual display of the letters, as well as the lyrics is a testament to Tim Minchin as the writer, and that of the creatives behind the scenes, set and look of the musical.

Lastly, I went to mention the song Telly. What a great, amusing song that is perfect to bring audiences back from interval. It definitely was a highlight.

I really enjoyed Matilda. It wasn’t my favourite musical, but I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. It’s definitely good for adults and children (although, it does have some spooky bits). I would recommend you all go and see it for a good laugh and good time. It’s good!

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