August 23, 2017

Matilda the Musical

I should have had this review up a couple of hours ago but I've been far too busy downloading soundtracks and watching clips on YouTube, reliving last nights theatrical and musical extravaganza.  We've read the book, we've seen the movie, and last night Madeline and I were lucky enough to go along to see the amazing - Matilda The Musical.

In short, it was absolutely incredible!  I am a huge fan of musical theatre both from an on stage and audience point of view and I loved every single second and every single thing about Matilda The Musical and I'd go back to see it again in a heartbeat if I had the opportunity.  Playing at the Civic Theatre in Auckland until 22 October, the historic exotic venue was the perfect setting for this bold and visually dramatic show.

It has been a little while since we last read the book and more recently we watched the movie so the first thing I was reminded of when the show started was that it is an English story, not American like the film.  The story line is true to form but there is a certain amount of (not unexpected) poetic license used through out the 2.5 hour show - some parts of the story have been left out to keep things moving and a few flamboyant scenes have been added in to add drama and flair (it is a musical after all).  I don't think you need to know the story to see or enjoy the show at all but I found it helpful to connect the dots where the story had been rewritten or where you don't get the finer storyline details that appear in the book as it all moves along quite quickly.  You might enjoy revisiting the book once you've seen the show.

The cast were absolutely incredible.  James Millar who plays Miss Trunchbull (yes Miss Trunchbull is played by a man!) absolutely stole the show.  His performance was wonderful.  The role has been written with a more humourous, slightly camp angle but still very true to the terrifying Trunchbull.  James was every inch Trunchbull and absolutely nailed this role.

I also really enjoyed the roles of Matilda's parents, Mr and Mrs Wormwood, played by Daniel Frederiksen and Kay Murphy.  Again, two very talented performers who were so entertaining to watch.

There are four little Matilda's on tour with the show each taking a turn at performing the role.  The show is a little under three hours long so the role is a huge undertaking!  Our Matilda was 10 year old Izellah Connelly from Australia - pictured second from the left below with show creator Tim Minchin.  She played the serious role beautifully and has a wonderful voice. 

The rest of the cast were equally wonderful!  From the other minor roles to the supporting ensemble, it really was a team that came together to make a wonderful whole.

The music was magic!  The original compilation score is wonderfully catchy.  And the choreography was brilliant with lots of surprises!  So polished in an imperfect way.  The colourful, high energy opening "Miracle" really sets the tone for the rest of the show.  "When I Grow Up" was performed by the cast on swings.  We were sitting in the second row from the front and it was incredible to see the children and adults swooping low across the audience and then soaring high above us.

"Bruce" was another favourite during the "chocolate cake" scene.  And the song "Quiet" well, it's simply beautiful.  The emotional lyrics are amazing - almost brought a tear to my eye.

Maddie was just about falling out of her seat with applause at the end of the show.  Her little 7 year old mind was completely blown.  The whole production from start to finish was just magic.  If you have the opportunity to go along to see Matilda The Musical then I can't recommend it enough.  It will thrill both adults and children alike.  It lives up to every good review and all the hype.  An absolute must see before it leaves New Zealand shores.  Tickets are available from just $60.  Ticketing information can be found here.

I'll leave you with this little clip of the West End cast as a little taster.  But take my word for it - it's amazing!

* I was provided tickets in return for my review of Matilda The Musical.  All opinion are my own.

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