Posted by: Natalie | November 17, 2010

Matilda the Musical

Apologies for the lack of post yesterday, but there was a very good reason; Steve and I went to Stratford to see the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) production of Matilda The Musical. Now, the Roald Dahl book, Matilda is one of my favourites. I often find it difficult to say which book of Dahl’s is top of the tree, but Matilda is firmly one of the three held in highest regard (the other two being The Witches and The BFG).

Despite a Hollywood butchering of this magical tale some years ago, it would never dissuade me from seeing a stage production. True, the thought of pretentious, jumped up theatre-lovie children, full of ego and irritation, did make me cringe a little but even this did not put me off (just to note, I could not have been more wrong in my judgement of these child actors – they’d put most adult professionals to shame – I was actively disappointed when the adult dancers took over from the children!). No, nothing would have stopped me from seeing this musical for one very, very specific reason.

Tim Minchin is a musical comedic genius. I love him. Steve would not mind me saying so, I think he is aware that one day I shall run away with Mr Minchin. One day. This rather unassuming, almost hobo-looking Aussie is by far one of my favourite performers; genuinely talented, cynical, dry humoured, humble and slightly odd looking, I completely adore him – if you hadn’t noticed – even down to the fact that his daughter has the perfect name for a literary heroine, Violet Minchin. I have been lucky enough to see him live twice at Birmingham’s Glee Club and cried each time through both laughter and sentiment. And although his adult humour may not be appropriate for childish japes such as this (I am not sure his occasional religion bashing lyrics would go down well) he has the right level of ‘silliness’ to be the perfect man for the job, for it was he who wrote the lyrics and music for this musical.

It was such a triumph. The music throughout was spectacular and so very fitting. The actors, specifically Paul Kay as Mr Wormwood, Bertie Carvel as Miss Trunchbull (a scary man, technically in drag, is the only way to portray this most evil of Dahl villains. However, on Googling him I find it almost unbelievable that such a pretty man could play such a horror of a woman!) and of course the darling little girl who played Matilda. These are obviously your key roles and need to be played well, they need to stand out and deliver; and in this they did not disappoint. Along with Mr Minchin’s work, these three in particular made this much loved book more real than I ever thought imaginable.

If you do have the opportunity to get to Stratford, get yourself to the courtyard theatre. Any lover of children’s literature will not fail to find this fantastic. Sadly I could not find a YouTube clip of the performance (good! No pirates at the RSC don’t you know?!) so I have left you with a video clip of the wonderful Tim Minchin in one of his more emotional moments. This may not be laugh out loud but it certainly shows his talent. It also puts me in mind of the lovely Lisa (I promise you will have another letter on its way soon!) and regular reader and super blogger Herby. Plus, it’s about Christmas! What more could you ask for? Enjoy.

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Responses

  1. I also love Tim Minchen! And that last video? sigh! Wish I could see “his” Matilda live and can only hope there is some day a recording of the musical version.


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