I returned to the Cambridge Theatre on Tuesday to revisit one of my favourite shows on the West End: Matilda The Musical. After seeing it last May I have been hooked on the cast recording and it totally lived up to the high expectations I had now got for it on the second viewing. Adding to the excitement was the fact that majority of the cast were having their first performance - all were excellent and had we not been told I’m sure people would have been none the wiser! I think Matilda can teach us a lot, so here’s the five things I learnt whilst at Crunchem Hall on Tuesday night!
Lesson 1: Tim Minchin needs to write more musicals
Tim Minchin’s music and lyrics are utterly fabulous, with fast paced lines mixed in with slower passages and hilarious one liners. From exciting opener 'Miracle', to the thoughtful 'Quiet' and the very funny 'The Smell Of Rebellion', this score has plenty to keep you amused (and singing along for weeks afterwards!)
Lesson 2: Not all children are maggots
I’m a bit like Miss Trunchbull with my attitude to theatre etiquette and strongly believe you should make no noise at all and give the show your full attention. I did, however, expect a bit of misbehaviour from the ‘maggots’ watching the show with me - two and a half hours is quite a long time to expect children to sit still for - but I needn’t have worried. I was not irritated once and felt a great deal of happiness as the ‘turn off your phones’ warnings were obeyed by all those in front of me and nobody so much as coughed or sneezed during proceedings. This is surely a testament to just how brilliant the show is; it can captivate everyone throughout, not giving people the excuse to chat or check their phone!
Lesson 3: It’s very, very clever
I love not understanding the magic of theatre - it keeps it so exciting as you wonder how on earth what you’ve just seen could possibly have happened. From the scene where a small child is swung around by her pigtails then dropped into the audience from a great height to the 'School Song' which involves the most intricate and complicated choreography I’ve ever seen, Matilda has plenty to keep you guessing even if you’re a seasoned theatregoer.
Lesson 4: The new Matilda cast is brilliant
I was lucky enough to catch Matilda’s new cast’s first performances and judging from how fabulous their first show was I can only imagine they will get better and better as the weeks go on. Miria Parvin is a lovely Miss Honey with strong vocals that soar through the Cambridge Theatre beautifully and continuing as Miss Trunchbull Craige Els is a terrifyingly hilarious and had the whole audience in stitches throughout. But Matilda’s children really steal the show with Lizzie Wells giving a fantastic first show as Matilda and Harrison Vaughan giving a fabulous performance as Bruce (especially during the hilarious cake-eating number).
Lesson 5: Everyone will love Matilda!
Whether you’re an adult or a child (or a childish adult), you’re going to love Matilda. It’s a story full of heart and brilliant songs, with jokes for 5 year olds and 95 year olds alike. Don’t feel like you need a child under 10 as an excuse to see the show, go to feel like a child again as you giggle at bottom jokes and appreciate the wonderful set, score and cast.
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