Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Skeptic's Review of 'Matilda the Musical'

I don’t know how long I stared at the tickets…but I know it was for a while – $200 dollars? I thought to myself, $200 dollars! Prior to that moment, I never knew that tickets could be that expensive, and here I was holding a pair of tickets equaling $200. What, is the theater made out of pure gold?

Granted, $100 per ticket is actually a really good deal when it comes to musicals. But still! Who cares that it’s a brand new musical? So what that it has had rave reviews? What does it matter that it’s playing at the Cambridge Theater in London? It’s $200 dollars for a pair of tickets!

Regardless of all of this, I went to Matilda the Musical. Not because I’m really enjoy musicals (which I do), nor was it because I’m a big fan of the author Roald Dahl (which I am). I went because my wife Kim said: “Can we please?” “Of course, Kim! I would love to go!” I think I heard my credit card cry out in pain as it was swiped.

That preamble aside, I was actually looking forward to Matilda the Musical. Kim had said that “when we go to London, I just want to see Matilda. If we see nothing else, I want to at least see Matilda. I always thought that book would make a fantastic musical, and if they hadn’t gotten to it first, I would have made it!”

As a kid, I read almost all of Roald Dahl’s books and I quite enjoyed the film version of Matilda (“You can do it, Bruce!”). So when I sat down in the Cambridge Theater (after paying $200 for tickets) my expectations were really quite high.

Matilda the musical did not disappoint.

The set design was incredible. The music was fantastic. The acting was superb. The story (and book for stage) was wonderful. And the actors (many of whom were just children) were exceptionally talented.

The music was both funny (“Telly,” and “The Smell of Rebellion”), at at sometimes quite tender (“When I Grow Up”). As soon as Kim and I got home from our honeymoon we downloaded the CD from iTunes and I’ve listened to the music many times. Wonderful stuff!

But for me, the real show stopper was the Trunchbull, played by Bertie Carvel. Carvel’s performance of the Trunchbull made my stomach hurt from laughing too much. He was amazing; well deserving of the Olivier award he won for best actor in a musical. I’d go back and see the show just to catch all of the funny little things he said (“I already told you, she’s a gangster.”)

When Kim and I left the theater I remember turning to her and saying “That was worth it.”

(And I’ve kept my ticket.)

Labels: A Skeptic's Review of 'Matilda the Musical'

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