Review: Matilda


Ticket Type: Partial View Row F

Viewing Angle: Couldn’t see entrances on Stage-Right to centre-upstage

Price: $27 Ticket Lottery

The soundtrack of Matilda has been my favourite album to listen to in the car and sing along to for the past year, so my hopes were high for this show and it did not disappoint. Not only did it not disappoint, it totally exceeded my expectations.
It’s a story that I have loved in both of its previous forms; originally as a novel by Roald Dahl and then appropriated to the screen by Danny DeVito, but this interpretation just nails how it expresses serious themes while maintaining childhood cheeky innocence.

Sitting in the theatre you’re greeted by collage of Scrabble letters scattered around the proscenium that provide a cool little pre-show puzzle to look at. Overall the set is quite spectacular; giant swings, elevating school desks, floating chalk and a library that appears seamlessly. Everything just flows with a consistent theme and cute Brechtian titles placed stylistically just adding to the charm of the design. Tehnically everything is like clockwork, it just all works together flawlessly that you don’t even notice scene changes or lighting cues unless intentional.

Tim Minchin’s lyrics follow this notion and are remarkably clever and Dennis Kelly’s book really gives the story so much more depth and a realism that make it quite a sophisticated show. My favourite aspect without giving too much away is a parrallel fable told by Matilda to the librarian which forms a motif for the action on stage, they also delve into the psycological issues a child may develop from living in an uncaring environment which adds sentiment to the story.

One of the best dramatic elements of the show is the tight and inventive choreography by Peter Darling. It’s all just so tight and intricate and it is all complimented with the ensembles ability to execute it effectively – especially the children. Paige Brady (Matilda) is just so adorable and goes above and beyond for what seems like a demanding role for anyone, let alone a child, you almost forget that she sometimes slips in and out of her English accent. Christopher Sieber is entertaining as ever with fantastic vocal control and bringing his own style to the role of The Trunchbull and while all of the child performers excel beyond the enthuasim of the adult cast a special mention goes to Grace Capeless as Lavender whose focus and intensity (resemling “Crazy Eyes” from Orange is the New Black) isn’t matched for the whole show.

One aspect which isn’t nessasarily bad, but does disrupt the flow of the show is the beginning of Act II when Matt Harrington (Mr Wormwood) comes out on stage and sings the song “Telly”, the song is great and entertaining but it doesn’t really have cohesion with the rest of the show as it is performed in a caberet style not really established with the audience prior. However, although it is jarring at first, it isn’t too hammy that youo cringe while it happens and you just sit back and laugh along.

This is definitely a must see show and although I sat in partial view seats I loved every minute of it. I will certainly be trying to see this show again.



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