It’s true, sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty. Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre is a show that I cannot recommend enough. It is joyful. It is upbeat. It is fun. The stage is bursting with life, but in Matilda, a very touching, and very important story is told.
I’m a huge fan of Roald Dahl and I loved Matilda when I was little, and as an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the story even more. As with a lot of Dahl’s stories, there is a darkness to Matilda. It is a story about a little girl who is neglected at home. She is not appreciated, she is not shown the care, love, or attention that she deserves. Matilda goes on to face more bullies at school, and this story is one that highlights how adults can abuse their positions of power. Sadly, there are people in this world who bully children, and they think that because they are bigger, and because they are older, they can do whatever they please. There are people who do not respect children, and I find that these people tend to forget that they were once a child themselves. Matilda is an intelligent, imaginative, kind little girl and she stands up for herself and for others when she thinks that something is not right or not fair, and by doing so, she is able to help others around her.
I love the musical’s score. The music and lyrics are by Tim Minchin, who is of course known for his comedic musical style. The lyrics are a perfect mix of fun, and witty, yet I found myself emotional as some of the songs are rather poignant.
I think my favourite song has to be When I Grow Up, because I think that this song is the perfect example of the mix of fun and poignant that I just mentioned. The stage is bursting with life, there are kids everywhere, there are slides and swings and it’s just glorious. It’s a song about children who are looking forward to growing up and they are singing about what they think growing up is. They sing about staying up late and watching tv until their eyes go square, and it’s brilliant. It is brilliant because I think this song captures what you think being a grown up is when you are little. It seems so freeing. You think you can do whatever you want, and to an extent you can, but when you are little you don’t think about jobs or bills or relationships or any of the less fun things that come with growing up. I remember this. I remember being little and just wanting to wear my Mam’s perfume and I couldn’t wait to be older because then I could have my own. The line that pulls on my heartstrings, the part that I think is very poignant is when the kids sing about how they will be braver when they grow up. They will be bigger, and braver, and stronger, and able to fight the creatures beneath the bed. This part gets me, because when you are a child, you’re dependent on the adults in your life and they are supposed to keep you safe, but sometimes we grow up and there are different creatures to face, they’re just not always under the bed.
Matilda and Miss Honey are my favourite characters. They always have been. I find Miss Honey’s arc to be particularly touching because Miss Honey was that neglected, mistreated child. She didn’t have anyone to speak up for her when she could not do it for herself. Her monsters followed her into adulthood, and it is only when she meets Matilda, when she wants to help Matilda, that she is able to fight her creatures. I find this really emotional because I think that is a very layered moment. When Miss Honey helps Matilda, when she stands up for Matilda, I feel she is also standing up for herself, and more importantly, she is standing up for the little girl she used to be, and she does for Matilda what no one did for her. Together, Miss Honey and Matilda are able to be surrounded by people who love and appreciate them, and they stand up to their bullies together, because they’ve found strength in each other and it’s a really lovely arc.
I have to take a moment to say that the entire cast was incredible, but I was blown away by the kids on that stage. Each and every one of them were fantastic. I love seeing talented young people getting to thrive on the stage and I am sure that all of these kids will grow up to do great things. The singing, the dancing, the timing was just amazing. It is a hard show, it is not watered down, they are on stage a lot, they’re an essential part of the show and I can’t applaud them enough.
I hope Matilda The Musical tours again at some point in the future because I’d love to see it in Dublin. I would see it again in a heartbeat. It was just fantastic. It was a brilliant night out.
Have you read or seen Matilda? Have you seen Matilda The Musical? Are you a fan of Roald Dahl and if so, which one of his works is your favourite? I’d love to know.
* The following pictures were taken by myself, with my phone, and they may not be shared without my permission.*