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Friday, September 6, 2013

Books to Music: Matilda

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Just because I find myself in this story
It doesn't mean that everything's written for me.
If I think the ending is fixed already
I might as well be saying that it's OK
And that's not right!

I saw this musical based on Roald Dahl's book when I was in London a couple months ago and I had very mixed feelings on it.  Now, I think I read the book when I was in 5th grade and haven't read it since.  But my main memory about the book was that Matilda had telekinetic powers (I guess that was what I wanted to have so I remember that!) and it was odd to me that this part of the book was revealed very late in the musical.  The musical focused on Matilda's uncompromising personality and her inner world and that was great to see.

What I didn't quite like was how the musical moved away from Matilda's story.  There was a lot of time given to Matilda's tediously comical parents and her father's shady dealings and also to the only solace Matlida seemed to have - the library where she told stories to the librarian.  Which introduced a major side plot where Matilda is telling an ongoing story to the librarian.  The story has significance, but I did have some questions about it which I don't want to go into here lest I spoil the story for people.   I think I found the show moved all over the place - especially in the first act - and so it lacked a clear focus.  I was also disappointed that there seemed such a separation between Matilda and her story and the children's suffering at the hands of Mrs. Trunchbull.  Until the last half of the second act where things really came together and there were lots of engaging and catchy melodies that all culminated in the wondrous "Revolting Children" song when the children are finally free of Mrs. Trunchbull and they celebrate their freedom.  That number is so energetic and full of the power of these children, I was suddenly entranced by the message of the whole musical.

And that's where I'm mixed up with this show.  I adored the heartfelt melancholy in the idea that adults don't have the same fire and energy and optimisim in them as children, and that children suffer when made to feel inadequate and unimportant when they are anything but.  So initially I was put off by pacing issues and sideplots, but by the end I was very much caught up in the children's journey that I left wanting to dance and sing in the streets.  Thankfully for the populace I did not.  I do think that the music and lyrics of this show was so very thoughtful, clever and inspiring that that makes up for any issues I had with the development of the story.

Song Spotlight: "Revolting Children"
I already mentioned this song and how much I loved it, that I think just putting a video up of it is the next step.  This is the Tony Award's performance, and they did a mash-up of "Naughty", "Revolting Children" and "When I Grow Up" (which happen to be my three favorite songs in the whole show!) and I was completely blown away by this performance!  The children in these shows are amazing!

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6 comments:

  1. I go back and forth about whether or notI want to see this musical..I have heard great things about it!

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    1. I think you should see it! You might like it more than me, and it is pretty funny. And if you go and see it in NYC maybe there will be half-price tix and then there's really no reason not to see it. :)

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  2. I've never actually read the book, only seen the movie. I guess maybe I should fix that...

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    1. I actually need to see the movie! I don't *think* I've seen it and it seems like people really liked it. And it has that girl from Mrs. Doubtfire and she's adorable. :)

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  3. Ummm, YES! I've not seen the show (I actually don't think I've even listened to the whole musical...) but I'm absolutely obsessed with "Revolting Children"! I find myself singing it all the time and the kids who perform it are so fantastic!

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    1. OH I'm so glad that you love Revolting Children!! Because I was so obsessed with it when I first heard it, and I still love to listen to it when I need some rousing music to get me started with my day! :) The kids are really amazing - they are on stage for most of the show and they sing and dance like pros (not jealous...)

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