Monday, 1 October 2018

#BeMoreMatilda


HOW CAN WE #BEMOREMATILDA?

“If it’s not right, you have to put it right” is Matilda’s motto in the vivacious stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel penned by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin. The show, produced by the RSC, has been a family favourite in the West End for years… and with good reason. The songs are catchy and witty, providing laughs (and tears) for both children and adults in the audience. We were invited to see the show and discuss how people might #BeMoreMatilda, which may seem an obvious answer… read books, be kinder, be humble. Those are all excellent traits that the adorable titular character possesses, however what really struck me watching the production is her utter strength and determination. How often do we find ourselves as adults questioning our own choices and feelings? How often do we allow someone to put us down even when we know it isn’t fair? 

In the show, Miss Honey (played to perfection by Gina Beck) is Matilda’s mentor and friend, as well as being her teacher. Despite this, she struggles in her personal life and regularly refers to herself as ‘pathetic’. One of the most heart breaking moments in the piece is Miss Honey’s constant inability to recognise her own worth. Years of bullying from her evil aunt, Miss Trunchbull have beaten her down. In a show where the children shine, it’s easy to think of the adults as ‘supporting cast’ even though they really aren’t so different. It’s beautiful to see so much raw talent next to West End regulars all working as one to tell this epic story. The adult characters can be garish caricatures like the Wormwoods, or truthful portrayals like Miss Honey, but all seem riddled with insecurities and contradictions. Matilda, however, always stays true to herself and recognises that she has as much right as anyone else to be happy. I think we could all take a leaf out of Matilda’s book in supporting others around us that need our help and standing up for ourselves. There is no shame in being different, and this show is a great champion of that. Matilda is the perfect role model for adults as well as children, and a beautiful reminder that no matter how small you may be, you are always in charge of your own story.

Article by Michael Russell 
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