In Every Grownup There Is A Child Waiting to See Matilda
Matilda The Musical is the internationally acclaimed musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by the beloved book of Roald Dahl. Written by Dennis Kelly and composer and lyricist Tim Minchin, the show has won 16 awards for Best Musical alone.
The plotline? Matilda is a 6 year old gifted girl, living in a loveless family, who finds refuge in books. Her capabilities are noticed in school by both Ms. Honey, her gentle teacher and supporter, and headmistress Ms. Trunchbull, a firm believer that children are maggots and must be broken. And this is about how far I will push lifeless borderline boring facts about Matilda.
Who watched Matilda?
After having seen (although I believe “witnessed” would be a better choice of words) this show on Saturday, I was in awe. Do you know those cartoons where the jaw drops to the floor and they use their hands to recover it? That was me after two and half hours of Matilda. Then I realized – It wasn’t because I had never seen a musical before, it wasn’t because the show is so damn well made. No. It was because the kid inside me watched it with me.
And do you know how kids are when they see something impressive? Their eyes big, mouths slightly open and say “whooaaa!”. That was me.
So what did the kid think about the show?
First of all how can all those 15 kids be in such perfect sync while dancing and singing and jumping and arranging or clearing the stage between acts? I can barely remember how to do the Macarena. Also… it was so funny when Matilda glued her father’s hat on his head. Or when she fooled Ms. Trunchbull, making her believe a ghost was writing on the blackboard. Or when Bruce was forced to eat the entire chocolate cake and he got fat live on the stage. It all seemed so real.
And the swings. They had swings on the stage! How mad is that? If I’d be swinging and singing “When I Grow Up” in a theatre full of people, watching my every move, noticing if my voice trembles or if I fall… well I can’t picture that. My hands start sweating only when I think of it and I want my mommy.
And the adult?
Maybe it’s because I know how six year olds are and how difficult it can be to motivate them to do anything they don’t want to do, that is why I have such a high regard for the musical. Probably like all shows of this kind, performing is very demanding: talent is not enough; you have to be needle focused, disciplined and accurate. This kind of precision is not something achieved easily, especially when kids are involved.
Moving past the first layer of mathematical accuracy, I found myself in a hilarious fast paced emotional world, where every scene was epicly built. Even if you have to, for whatever reason, leave in the middle of the show, you wouldn’t be stuck with that feeling of “Darn, I missed it”. That is because every scene has emotional content, well balanced in acting, singing and dancing. All is superbly knitted together in a natural expression of childhood exuberance.
Although widely described as a children’s play, I disagree. Matilda is not just a story for kids, it is a story about a kid written for grownups. A complex base of talent and hard work, sprinkled with vitalising energy and innocence, falls nothing short of perfection.
At the end, I jumped off my seat applauding, tears in my eyes, goosebumps on my skin. Why? Probably because by the end of Matilda The Musical, the grownup me and the child me had finally found the masterful representation of their coexistence.
You can find more information about Matilda the musical here.
Credit foto: www.stageandcinema.com