Our family has spent many afternoons watching the 1996 movie, Matilda, upon Audrey’s request. It was during a time when she found it extremely challenging to read, so watching Matilda really encouraged her to put in the effort so she could read with ease, just like Matilda.
(Full disclosure, we haven’t read Matilda by Roald Dahl just yet but we’ll definitely get to that.)
So based on just seeing the movie alone (and how much she loved it), imagine Audrey’s delight when she found out that we were going to watch Matilda The Musical! She has seen Wicked and The Sound of Music, so she knew she was going to be tickled once again by the magic of musical theater!
Since Audrey already knew Matilda’s story, on the way to the Theatre at Solaire, she kept saying she was excited to see how different the movie is from the musical. I was curious as well because I’ve never seen it as a musical, nor have I listened to the soundtrack (which is available on Spotify, by the way!).
Based on our experience watching Wicked and The Sound of Music, we knew there were going to be several creative areas (or booths, as Audrey called them) where we could take fun photos at. It would be best to get there 45 minutes to an hour before the show starts so you’d have enough time to go to each booth. Remember, there’s usually a line which is what the time allowance is for.
Make sure you’re in the theatre at least 5-10 minutes before the show starts so you can soak in how gorgeous the set is. Challenge yourself to imagine how they’re gonna make everything come alive throughout the show. No spoilers here, don’t worry, but I will say that their set is one of the most creative I’ve ever seen.
Needless to say, everyone in the cast was impeccable but our absolute favorites were obviously Agatha and Matilda! After the show, we just kept talking about Miss Agatha Trunchbull. Her character had a few funny moments but she was mostly scary throughout the show. Audrey gripped my hand several times because she felt nervous until she remembered that it was just acting — really awesome acting. So bravo to Hayden Tee, who is best known for his award-winning performance in the Australian, Broadway and Dubai productions of Les Miserables as Javert.
Sofia Ella Poston was our Matilda during the Gala show and she was absolutely adorable, even when she was being naughty. (I gather there are two other girls who play Matilda and I’m sure they’re incredible too!). It was delightful to hear her sing but Audrey and I were particularly impressed when she had to speak fluent Russian in one of the scenes. Oh and you know what else warmed my heart when I looked her up on Instagram, she skateboards and she’s really good at it! Sidenote, Audrey has been trying to learn Russian and has been playing around on her brother’s skateboard, hence the fascination because Sofia absolutely inspires Audrey!
As for our favorite scenes, I’ve got four words — alphabet blocks, swings, scooters. Once you see the scenes using those props, you’ll understand why we like them. Two of those scenes feature my absolute favorite song When I Grow Up, especially when Matilda sings this part:
Just because you find that life’s not fair
It doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it
If you always take it on the chin and wear it
Nothing will change
Just because I find myself in this story
It doesn’t mean that everything is written for me
If I think the ending is fixed already
I might as well be saying I think that it’s ok
And that’s not right
Audrey’s favorite song is Miracle. She said she loves the song especially because of the lines “My mummy says I’m a miracle!” and “Mummy says I’m an angel sent down from the sky!” because she said, “Those lines make a kid’s day!” It goes to show how important words are – whether you’re talking to a kid or an adult.
Fifteen Lessons and Discussion Points
If you’re going to watch this with your kids, here are fifteen topics you can use as family discussion points, post-show:
- Pregnancy, because Mrs. Wormwood thought she was just fat! If this is somehow an uncomfortable topic, you can treat it as a lesson in Science.
- Each new life, each child is a miracle, whether they were expected/planned or not. You can even share your child’s birth story with him/her if you haven’t done so.
- Words are powerful – they can either make or break someone, so it’s important to choose what we say to others.
- Reading and learning new things can help us come up with solutions to the most challenging situations. Point out how Matilda learned beyond what she was expected to learn and that spared her dad’s life (spoiler, sorry!)
- Look up interesting trivia about newts. Did you know that newts have the ability to regenerate limbs, eyes, spinal cords, hearts, intestines, and upper and lower jaws?
- Bullying is never okay, whether it’s done by fellow kids or adults. You can discuss different action plans if anyone were to bully them.
- The power and importance of kindness, patience, and love, especially if you are raising, mentoring or teaching a child or teen.
- The realities that there could be mean and unreasonable people in authority and what we need to do if we encounter them.
- Courage, what it is and why we need to develop it.
- The value of integrity and being honest in doing business
- How families are formed and how each family has a different culture (and how it’s okay to be different).You can even discuss what adoption is and why it was possible for Matilda to have a new family.
- The necessity to fight for what is right and what one deserves and how to do it the best possible way
- Imagination – what it is, how we can develop it, the benefits of imagining – even when you’re all grown up
- (And my favorite) What it really means to “grow up”
- For kids and teens who want to get into theatre – talk about the discipline and hard work that goes into preparing for each and every show
You wouldn’t want to miss this award-winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Matilda The Musical will run until March 22nd at The Theatre at Solaire. You can get your tickets here. For more information about this spectacular production, please visit https://matildainternational.com/.
Enjoy the show! If you’ve seen it, I would love to know what you think of it in the comments section. 🙂 Thank you once again, to GMG Productions for having us! To stay updated as to which international production they’re bringing to the Philippines next, follow them on Instagram or sign-up for their newsletter here.