Thursday, 23 August 2012

Why Matilda Is So Successful In London's West End

Matilda the musical has become a popular addition to the West End stage since its premiere in 2011. Half a year later, it continues to draw in the crowds with sold-out viewings and it has become one of the most successful British musicals of all time. Critics, too, have sung its praises and the musical won a record-breaking seven Olivier awards, and it is even set for Broadway in 2012. Many who have not seen the show are wondering what it is that makes Matilda so successful.

The Story of Matilda

The fantasy world of Matilda is inspired by fairy tales while still being firmly grounded in the grim reality of terrible classrooms, nasty teachers and neglectful parents. Matilda is a bright and gifted young girl, ignored by her parents and despised by her child-hating headmistress Miss Trunchbull. When Matilda learns that she has unexpected powers, she uses them to make her and her friends lives better and enact revenge on the dreaded Trunchbull.

Adapting The Book Into A Musical

Although the adaptation is largely faithful, it has added some contemporary touches. The musical has also slightly altered the episodic structure and feel of the book and added segments were Matilda tells stories to her classmates. These stories give a chance for the production to escape the confines of the classroom, as well as breathe new life into the story while remaining true to Dahld's work and tone. Even those familiar with the book find that the musical is much more than a simple reselling of the story.
Of course, the production would not work without strong musical additions. Fortunately, comedian Tim Minchin has invigorated the play with witty, catchy and boisterous new songs and accompaniments. The rousing songs and dance routines have been universally praised and many have argued that it is the best new musical to hit the West End in years.

The Enduring Appeal of Roald Dahld

Matilda is not the first play to have been adapted from Roald Dahld's work. Twisted Tales, BFG, The Twits and many others have all made their way to the stage. Roald Dahld's literary legacy is firmly established and his dark themes, twisted humour and riveting plot twists are more relevant now than ever. The stage is the perfect place for his loud and brash characters, ominous sets and underdog stories. With rousing performances on swing-sets, acrobatics and even the child throwing exploits of Trunchbull all reenacted on stage, Matilda is a lively and action-packed show.

Parents and Children

Roald Dahld's stories have always appealed to adults and children. His dark twisted humour, although childlike at times, is fun for all ages and Matilda is no exception to this. The production is also scary, tragic and gripping, and many older viewers agree that it is a must-see play suitable for all ages.
The triumph of Matilda shows no signs of slowing down. Although many movies and books are being adapted for the stage, audiences and critics agree that Matilda is one of the best of its kind.

'Why Matilda Is So Successful In London's West End' was written in partnership with Leicester Square Box Office, providers of official West End tickets.

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