If you know of someone who is constantly complaining about being dealt a bad hand in life, get him or her to watch Matilda The Musical coming to Singapore in March.
An awe-inspiring and moving tale of how a little girl rises above all odds against injustices and duly dishing out comeuppance to the bullies in her life, Matilda The Musical is one musical to look out for. At the heart of it all, this is a story built around a little girl's resilience, strength, and the importance of kindness.
For those unfamiliar with Roald Dahl's work, here's a run-down of what to expect. Matilda Wormwood has never felt the warmth of family since her birth and surrounds herself with books. Thankfully, the precocious little girl has a couple of angels in her life who make her life just that little bit less miserable. When faced with an abusive authoritative figure such as the scary headmistress Miss Trunchbull, Matilda gathers strength from her friends and her schoolteacher Miss Honey to overcome what seems insurmountable.
In Matilda The Musical, you will witness the triumph of how a bully is put in place, on top of dollops of wit and humour throughout the musical that is true to Roald Dahl’s storytelling. In today's climate where bullying is no longer tolerated, Matilda's narrative has never been more time-appropriate.
Yahoo Life Singapore deep dives into how this classic transcends the medium as a book and comes alive as a musical theatrical masterpiece in the imagination of Resident Director Natalie Gilhome. Miss Gilhome sheds light on the significance, and timelessness of the story, as well as the creative process and challenges behind this globally renowned production based on Roald Dahl’s beloved classic, Matilda.
To date, Matilda The Musical has accumulated more than 100 awards around the world.
Relevant themes in today’s world
Yahoo Life Singapore: How relevant is Matilda The Musical to the children and parents today, versus the world and times of Roald Dahl's book? What can the audience take home?
Natalie Gilhome: The themes remain relevant to this day and age as the main value of learning to stand up for yourself when you can see that things are wrong can be carried through any time and certainly for any age. Matilda says "If it's not right, you have to put it right" and this becomes a main theme for the musical – in turn, inspiring others around her to do the same. Another theme from Matilda is that "even if you're little you can do a lot" which reminds us that any one of us can make a difference, no matter how big or small, and that even revolutions can start with one person doing the right thing.
Bringing Roald Dahl’s magic alive in Matilda The Musical
How true to the book is Matilda The Musical? And what are the tweaks or changes we can expect in Matilda The Musical, as compared to the classic by Roald Dahl?
Matilda the Musical is inspired by the original book by Roald Dahl and illustrations by Quentin Blake. The story of a little girl who overcomes large challenges in life and more specifically, manages to overturn the bully of the school, Headmistress Agatha Trunchbull, is told on stage using a wonderful script by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. The quirky and unique style of the book is translated into the musical through Minchin's clever and intricate lyrics, while the design of the show is very much inspired by Quentin Blake's original illustrations in the book.
How do you bring the magic of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, the book, into Matilda The Musical?
Matilda the Musical has many musical numbers (now quite well known) that help to tell the story and bring to life the narrative – “Naughty”, “Revolting Children” and “Quiet” to name a few. The character of Matilda learns that she has a special power – the gift of being able to move things with her eyes” which the audience will see on stage. One of the most incredible things about experiencing Matilda the Musical on stage is that the whole show is led by a young member of the cast (we have three Matildas) portraying the role of Matilda and leading the adult cast through this imaginative story.
What are the challenges of touring Matilda the Musical around the world?
The touring company numbers between 70-80 people from several different countries so there are always unique challenges along the way, especially with travel logistics! The children on tour still need to fit in tutoring to keep up their schooling so scheduling will always take that into account. We also spend two days a week rehearsing the understudies so that everyone is ready to step on stage when needed. Although there are many challenges we face, the touring group does become one big family and share so many wonderful experiences in different lands, cultures, and languages that it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
For parents thinking of bringing their children
What, do you think, will the Singapore audience love most about Matilda The Musical?
The main themes of Matilda are truly universal which makes any audience across the world really fall in love with Matilda the Musical. The talent that the cast brings to the stage, plus the unsurpassable music and lyrics by Tim Minchin make this musical one of the best to experience at any age. Adults and children will learn from Matilda – from her strength, courage, and creativity.
Do you have a personal favourite scene from Matilda The Musical?
One of my favourite scenes/songs in Matilda the Musical is in Act 2 where Matilda sings "Quiet". It tells of how she can rise above all the noise and chaos around her and take herself to an almost meditative state where she experiences none of that and is in a truly "quiet" place. I would like to think that in this day and age of so much noise in the media, society, and social media, we can all work on our ability to distance ourselves from that chaos and enter our quiet places to gain clarity and peace.
Matilda The Musical is produced by GWB Entertainment in association with The Royal Shakespeare Company and presented in Singapore by Base Entertainment Asia. Matilda The Musical runs from 9 March to 7 April 2024 at Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands. Get your tickets today!
Relevant reads on Matilda
For those who prefer to read before watching the musical, check these books out on Amazon.
Matilda in paperback
A paperback version of Roald Dahl's beloved classic Matilda.
"Matilda will surely go straight to children's hearts." —The New York Times Book Review
Roald Dahl's Matilda's How to be a Genius: Brilliant Tricks to Bamboozle Grown-Ups
Inspired by Roald Dahl's Matilda, you can now astound your friends and family with feats of calculation, scientific miracles, incredible creativity and fiendishly clever tricks, all with simple, step-by-step instructions in this book.
Out of Print Literary and Book-Themed Canvas Tote Carrying Bag for Book Lovers, Readers, and Bibliophiles
Out of Print Totes are 14" x 15.25" with a 9" hanging strap, making this a versatile and reusable bag with the ability to fold flat for easy storage.
About Resident Director Natalie Gilhome
Natalie works internationally as a Resident/Assistant Director and a Casting Director. She has been a Resident Director with the international production of Matilda the Musical (RSC/GWB) since 2019. Additionally, she has been on the Resident/Associate Creative teams of Dream Lover (Australia), the Australian tour of Ghost the Musical, productions of West Side Story, La Cage Aux Folles, Gypsy and Jerry's Girls for The Production Company, Anything Goes, Sweet Charity, Grease (Australasia), and international productions of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Italy, UK, and Brazil).
Natalie has recently cast Wicked for the Australian return season for Crossroads Live Australia. She was most recently Casting Director for GWB Entertainment on The Old Vic production of A Christmas Carol and before this, she cast the Australian tours of Broadway productions Jagged Little Pill, An American In Paris (co-produced with The Australian Ballet), and Girl From the North Country. She also cast Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical School of Rock for Australia, China, and Korea, and West Side Story for Australia and Germany (GWB Entertainment/Opera Australia).