If you find yourself in London,don’t miss the special opportunity to attend a play or a musical. Once a theater ticket is added to your “must do” list, it becomes a question of choice. Just like New York City, the options in London are overwhelming. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank award-winning Broadway producer, Doug Meyer, for his recommendation to see Matilda, a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic book.
My former fifth grade students at the Indian international school studied the book, Matilda, and also watched the movie. Obviously it would be impossible for this class to see the London musical. Yet, I couldn’t stop wondering how they would respond to another version of Dahl’s story. Would the characters be portrayed differently, would this adaptation remain true to the original story, or would it be more aligned with the movie? Oh, the teacher part of my brain had to be turned off as I refocused my attention to the pure delight of being seated at a London musical.
Before the performance began, I was thrilled to see an audience filled with children. Many needed to utilize the booster cushions so they could hopefully see the performance. I thought about how it must feel for a kid to attend such a grown-up event. The only musical that I witnessed prior to college was a Chicago production of Fiddler on the Roof. My best friend in elementary school, Missy Copp, invited me to a birthday celebration. Although I was not theatrically or musically inclined, the show left a lasting impression. Whenever I attend a live performance, I remember my first musical.
Just like Dahl’s version that captured the story through the eyes of Matilda, the writers and producers of this musical were able to create dialogue and songs that realistically illustrated a child’s perspective. The positive interactions between Matilda and her two mentors, Miss Honey and Mrs. Phelps, were skillfully contrasted with Matilda’s depressing relationship with her sinister parents. The audience walked hand-in-hand with the youthful performers as they talked, sang, and danced. I was impressed with the talent that graced the stage and the creative energies that made it possible for Dahl’s story to come alive. The lively and melodic songs added a special layer.
Matilda has received five star reviews from The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, the London Evening Standard, Time Out, the Daily Express, and the Sunday Express. In April, it swept the Olivier Awards, Britain’s equivalent to Broadway’s Tony Awards. It was an all time winner- accumulating 7 awards, including best new musical.
If you can’t make it to London, I’d suggest seeing Matilda when it makes its debut in New York City in the spring of 2013.
Thanks to the official Matilda website for posting photos from a past performance.