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Matilda: The Musical at QPAC

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
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Do not do this at Home

The woman behind me at "Matilda" left the performance in tears.

"Their parents must be so proud" she said.

She wasn't wrong.

The show stands or falls on the performance of the nine minuscule sprogs who have to dance, do cartwheels, sing, swing, perform gymnastics and act.

On opening night in Brisbane, they didn't put a foot wrong, and then, to make your ageing reviewer feel even more aged, at the after-party they were dancing the night away to a DJ.

There are four Matildas over the Brisbane season. On opening night the part was played by Venice Harris. She has already been little Cosette in "Les Miserables" and Gretl in "Sound of Music". She made the demanding role look effortless, sounded (and behaved) in a way that reminded us of Hermione in "Harry Potter", and well deserved the tumultuous applause at the end of the show.

Just wonderful.

As was James Millar playing a particularly sadistic and outlandish pantomime dame-like head-mistress. Once one has seen Millar in particularly memorable activity garments somersaulting over a gymnastic "horse" it cannot easily be un-seen. Nor would one want to. The audience loved to hate her.

It struck me that (with some of the wonderfully subversive Minchin lyrics celebrating his/her populist chop-logic, narcissism and megalomania) there might be a place for a Trump reference here with perhaps an appropriate wig?

There is not a weak link in the cast.

Matilda's appalling parents vamp their dysfunctional self-absorption in a repulsively convincing manner Dahl would have loved them.
Just as one suspects he would have liked the big-budget set, with its celebration of the books Matilda loves and her parents despise.
There is a dark, subversive subtext to this show corruption, deal-making, child-abuse and alienation.

And yet (just like the early fairy tales with their darkness and violence) this show appeals to children and to the child in all of us.
Minchin's superb lyrics, great direction, sky-high production values, wonderful choreography, a cast of adults and children to die for ... what's not to like?

Not to be missed.

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Why? somewhere between wonderful and miraculous
When: Current - 12 February
Where: Lyric Theatre
Cost: $55 - $175
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