I had no particular plans to see Matilda the Musical, but I do love the original story, musicals in general, and Tim Minchin, so I suppose it was only a matter of time really. However, it became an absolute necessity as soon as I heard about the under 30’s £5 tickets. The Cambridge Theatre has a special offer where you can get £5, yes £5, tickets to this great musical. Quick, go now!
We went on a weekday, and I was able to pick up two tickets after work, but apparently they often go very quickly, and sometimes have queues on opening during the weekend; so it could have just been luck of the draw. Bear in mind that they will check ID, and they do require all members of the party to be there, you can’t buy for friends. The seats we got also weren’t the best, and close but not directly together. But for a fiver, I’m not going to complain.
I’m not going to lie, I think this one’s a bit of a grower – I came out happy but not astounded, but as I’ve realised the cleverness of the lyrics, this one’s a soundtrack I come back to again and again.
I think this is in part (and I’m sorry to sound like a grinch) because of the age of most of the cast – diction did suffer somewhat, which is a shame when the songs are so brilliantly written. However, with that out of the way, the professionalism of the young cast was amazing, and I’m told I saw one of the ‘older’ Matildas, which is astounding to me.
In terms of the adult cast, I found Miss Holly a tad unlikable in her saccharine-sweetness, which I know is the character, but made her ballads (especially My House) the musical’s low-points for me. Trunchbull was brilliantly dislikable – although now I’m writing this I wonder what these character preferences say about me…
Moving away from the cast, I loved the staging and set. It’s visually stunning from the moment you walk in, and inclusion of elements like swings and scooters kept the whole production feeling fun and childish (in the good way!).
Sitting in the cheap seats (I do this a lot) didn’t impact the experience too much for this one – most of the scenes were set pretty centrally and it didn’t seem like there was much we were missing at the back. My lyric clarity issue may have been solved if I could see a bit more of the actors’ faces, but I imagine you’d have to be quite a lot closer (and pricier) before that made a noticeable difference.
It’s nothing too mentally taxing, but if you’re looking for a bit of fun the familiar story, upbeat music, and colourful set makes for a great evening out at Matilda the Musical.