I’m just back from seeing Matilda – the RSC’s stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel. I loved it.
It’s a musical, with music/lyrics written by Tim Minchin. Given that there’s nothing of Tim Minchin’s I haven’t liked, this seemed like a good start, and the songs were indeed witty, fast, erudite and full of heart. So much so that it was difficult to catch everything on just one performance. I’d be admiring a lovely turn of phrase while hearing people laugh at a joke I hadn’t caught, before something interesting came along to replace both.
The child actors carried most of the show, and were pretty much flawless. Apparently there are three different sets of children, the logistics of which I don’t want to think about, but you wouldn’t know – their many dance routines were really, really complex and perfectly synchronised.
If you’ve read the book, you might remember a scene involving pigtails that obviously wouldn’t be possible on stage. Well, not so much. I was very impressed they pulled that off. The finale was very cleverly done, too, and the staging as a whole was continually surprising. The stage itself was full of quirks, and the background shifted subtly and often, all surrounded by a gorgeously designed set of letters and numbers.
At one point Miss Honey turns around to look at Matilda, and I really tried quite hard not to well up. I failed. This happened a few times, but I spent most of the time smiling, when not laughing out loud. Highly recommended by me, and my favourite thing I’ve seen at the RSC.