Monday, December 24, 2012

REVIEW: Matilda -The Musical (London)

Cambridge Theatre (London), Thursday December 20

From Scrooge to Matilda (2nd of my 14 shows in 13 days marathon). I have been wanting to see this musical since my friend Sandra saw it in the preview and was raving about it. Unfortunately, mis-information made me missed it last Christmas; and since then it was nominated for 15 Laurence Olivier Awards and won 7 including the Best New Musical! Matilda is based on Roald Dahl’s tale of an extraordinary child with aweful parents. A Royal Shakespeare Company production directed by Matthew Warchus, this musical have a book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. 

Matilda is the story of Matilda Wormwood, a child with an amazing learning capacity even though her unscrupulous parents couldn't care less. Matilda also has a rather special gift... everytime her parents treat her horribly, the young girl teaches them a lesson! Definitely rated PG (parental guidance)! As of this writing, I have seen 8 shows in West End and this has to be the best.

It was very good in all levels. The songs of Tim Minchin beautifully captured the idiom of the story, they were original and memorable. The whole production design was based on letter blocks and this theme was echoed in various aspects. Classroom desks and chairs and cut-outs representing bathroom popping out of the floor helped a lot in ensuring that the story-telling pace was kept. 

The highlight however of this production was the choreography by Peter Darling and beautifully executed by the cast. The choreography was not your usual musical comedy cutesy type but a blend of modern and hip hop that gave that youthful sheen yet not pandering to the street culture. I particularly like the choreography in School Song where Darling brought the actions vertically onto the school gate. When it comes to imagery though, nothing beats the choreography in When I Grow Up with the kids and the "kids" (adult playing older kids) doing a dance that integrated playground swings into it.

Playing Matilda for this performance was Lucy-Mae Beacock and she was absolutely perfect for the role with a good balance of innocence and knowingness. Other brilliant performances came from Annette McLaughlin and Steve Furst as Mrs. and Mr. Wormwood... they were brilliantly awful. David Leonard's Miss Trunchbull was as menacing as it gets, while Haley Flaherty's Miss Honey was the perfect counterweight.
Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company
Creative Team: 
Book: Dennis Kelly
Music and Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Director: Matthew Warchus
Choreography: Peter Darling
Set & Costume Design: Rob Howell
Orchestrations & Additional Music: Christopher Nightingale
Lighting Design: Hugh Vanstone
Sound Design: Simon Baker
Illusion: Paul Kieve
Cast includes:
The Adults
Fabian Aloise - Resident Choreographer
Marc Antolin - Rudolpho
Verity Bentham - Cook
Charles Brunton - Children's Entertainer
Billy Cullum - Henchman
Joseph Davenport - Swing
Lara Denning - Henchwoman
Haley Flaherty - Miss Honey
Steve Furst - Mr Wormwood
Mark Goldthorp - Doctor
Jack Greaves - Swing
Madeleine Harland - Henchwoman
Melanie La Barrie - Mrs Phelps
Joshua Lay - Henchman
Maria Lawson - Acrobat
David Leonard - Miss Trunchbull
Annette McLaughlin - Mrs Wormwood
Katy Monk - Swing
Rachel Moran - Swing
Leanne Pinder - Resident Choreographer
Nick Searle - Michael Wormwood
Tommy Sherlock - Henchman

The Children
Samantha Allison: Amanda
India Ria Amarteifio: Hortensia
Robyn Ashwood: Lavender
Zak Baker: Eric
Lucy-Mae Beacock: Matilda
Cally Callaghan: Alice
Hayley Canham: Matilda
Amy Charlton: Hortensia
Jess Daugirda: Alice
Samantha Delaney: Amanda
Oliver Finnegan: Eric
Terrell Forde: Nigel
James Gardner: Tommy
Lauren Halil: Alice
Chloe Hawthorn: Matilda
Holly Hazelton: Lavender
Noga Inspector: Hortensia
Finley Jury: Eric
Brooke Kelly: Amanda
Uwan Lam: Nigel
George Littell: Tommy
Marcus May: Tommy
Ben Middleton: Bruce
James Moore: Bruce
Elliot Reeve: Bruce
Max Stephens: Bruce
Joshua Tikare: Nigel
Lara Wollington: Matilda
Ella Yard: Lavender

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