Sunday, November 13, 2011

Matilda in the West End

The excellent RSC production of Matilda has come to the West End (my review of the Stratford show is here), and if you weren't aware of that fact already, you will be next week, as Tim Minchin hits the publicity trail for both his musical and the DVD of his stupendously good Orchestra show (I reviewed that too, here).

I went to see Matlida in its new Cambridge Theatre home last night and, if anything, it's even better on second viewing. Being a long time Minchin admirer (fan), the brilliant complexity of the songs was apparent to me from the off -they are beautiful, hummable and lyrically dense - but this time I also appreciated just how clever, funny and humane the book is. It's simulataneously subtle and full of almost pantomime characters, and draws out the significance of stories - prioritising that over the "magic" element of the novel that the film adaptation relied on. Importantly, the book and songs dovetail perfectly, both packed with jokes and brains and heart.

The imagination of the script and songs has also been reflected in some stunning staging, and the young cast are insanely talented - they've been given some great choreography which is ambitious to say the least, and they give it absolutely everything. Cleo Demetriou, who took the role of Matilda last night, is just a star. Go see it, basically.