Let’s get one thing straight – I was not paid for this review.
I soooo wish that I was, because the tickets are expensive (we paid for the cheapies at $80 per seat). And I do not have any photos or video to share. What kind of hypocritical monster do you think I am?
The music is by Tim Minchin – a bloody Aussie legend, able to mix music and comedy like a magical potion concocted by the toe-less itchy lady down the road. You may know him better from Californication, but trust me – go check out his Comedy Festival performances. And he is a dad – real Evil Genius Parenting potential there.
The main motivation for us attending was EG Dad. He loves Roald Dahl, and has just finished reading Matilda with young Nefarious (having previously read it with Sinister around the same age of 6). When you consider the original dark history of the book , I am surprised that any of it is aimed at kids. Seriously, the initial version was so depressing, the editor sent it back saying WTH DUDE?!?! But the idea of a gifted little horror like Matilda… well, it just appeals to our entire family.
The musical is pretty much the same – wait. It’s even better. The opening scene really sets the feel for the whole performance. It starts with a party scene, and all these precious little “miracles” being spoilt and lauded over by their parents – made to feel like they are so much more than anyone else there. Dressed in fancy clothes, given toys, starring in their photos, and being taken to fancy theatre performances.
I kid you not – when I saw this scene, I laughed even louder. At myself, and the parents around me with all their precious miracles. Little princesses and princes, being told they are special and this musical is just for them.
I see what you did there, Minchin. *slow clap* Well played, sir.
Of course, I was then distracted by the quick travel in time – back to the birth of Matilda. Distracted, because the guy playing the Doctor… well, he kind of looked like the Doctor. As in David Tennant Doctor. Go see it and tell me you don’t notice.
Anyway, back to the performance over all.
The kids in this are brilliant. They really are. The actress portraying Matilda is able to elicit both heart-wrenching sympathy for her lonely plight, while balancing a certain level of a secret joy at the mischief she causes. Of course, the path to Hell is always paved with good intentions – and her ability to escape more severe punishment is highly admirable. While the season is shared by four actresses, each performance is solely carried by one pint-size actress. And wow – this one carried it with gusto. No wavering, no slouching. Just pure spunk.
And Miss Honey – otherwise known as Elise McCann. She is amazing – her voice is quite seriously, just like honey. And she carries a little flame of mischief herself, from the very beginning.
Word of warning – there are moments that are a little terrifying for young children. Zaltu didn’t have the attention span beyond Intermission (she is 2), but Nefarious surprised me. He was quite upset with the sub-story regarding the acrobatic/daredevil couple. I won’t spoil it for you (I’m not that EVIL), but it is quite emotional, and sensitive kids might become even more sensitive to the emotional toil of the play.
Remember, minions – it is a dark story to begin with. And Minchin has been true to form in expressing that with the music. The story line itself does differ slightly from the book, but not too greatly.
One more thing to note – the set design is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! The movable set pieces move so smoothly – each transition between scenes is such a pleasure to slide from one to another. The strobe lighting is a bit ick, but the scene with the Hammer-Throw uses lighting in a way that has you escape from the confines of the theatre hall and fall into the arms of Trunchbull herself. Yeah, doesn’t sound great but you’ll love it.
We had seats in the front row of the Grand Circle (upstairs, looking down to the stage). I liked the seats – it gave the kids a bit more space to stretch their legs while watching. And we had a clear view. And I only had to sell one kidney for them. I have heard from other minions that front row seats are also fun – keep an eye out for paper airplanes.
Matilda ‘officially’ opens with the red carpet fancy thing on Thursday 20 August 2015 in Sydney, at the Lyric Theatre.
Seriously though, if you are in Sydney (or can travel) this is definitely something worthwhile considering to see. Adults and kids.
And damn it – read the book to your spawnlings. They deserve it. They deserve to be inspired by a little spawnling who refused to accept the crappy hand she was dealt, and demanded a reshuffle of the whole damn deck.
If that doesn’t inspire you to take over the world, I don’t know what will.
EDIT: News in – Matilda is coming to Melbourne as well. Princess Theatre in March 2016. Probably Ticketek again. Check it out.
ANOTHER EDIT: More news in (22 May 2017) – Matilda is now heading to Adelaide. Tickets can be found HERE.