Deliciously revolting: See Matilda The Musical at Dubai Opera this week
The iconic play stomps and skips its way into Dubai Opera this month…
In the past few years, Dubai Opera has thrilled us with a number of phenomenal musicals from Mamma Mia! to Chicago, the Musical; Footloose and so much more. This year, the performing arts centre will be home to yet another highly popular performance – Matilda the Musical.
The multi-award-winning performance by The Royal Shakespeare Company will be held from Tuesday, October 3 to 15. Tickets are now on sale on dubaiopera.com. It is based on the book of popular author, Roald Dahl.
The joys of Dahl’s work have survived several generations of children, and numerous adaptations – both good and bad. His wickedly delightful books – from The Witches and The BFG to Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and James & The Giant Peach – tend to champion misfits and disparage bullies. In other words, they often make kids feel better about being different – a universally acknowledged part of growing up.
That’s at the heart of one of Dahl’s most beloved children’s stories, the 1988 novel Matilda, a story about a little girl, unloved by her parents. She joins a school run by the wicked Miss Trunchbull, a headmistress that thrives on abusing all the schoolchildren. But Matilda is a genius with magical telekinetic powers, which she uses (with the guidance of her kind form teacher Miss Honey) to lead her classmates to liberation and to help them stand up to their bullies.
It’s a wonderful story that’s inspired generations of fans, teaching important life lessons about how to find your voice and use it, and that chosen family is just as valid as your birth one.
It’s no wonder then that in 2003 – seven years after the release of Danny DeVito’s fabulous film adaptation starring Mara Wilson – the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) began work on the idea of a musical based on the book, bringing on playwright Dennis Kelly, Matthew Warchus as director (Warchus incidentally also directed the December 2022 Netflix film version), and the radical Australian comedian, and composer Tim Minchin to write a delectably clever score.
Minchin’s magic music
Our favourite songs from the stage soundtrack by the legendary Tim Minchin
Revolting Children: With clever lyrics that interchange the two meanings of revolting, and a fantastic ensemble singalong about the power of the collective, Revolting Children is a great reclamation of control by the students of Crunchem Hall.
School Song: Wordplay at its best, School Song is delivered through the repetition of the alphabet – and serves as a warning to Matilda that Crunchem Hall is a terrible school. The ingenuity of the lyrics makes it one of the best songs.
Quiet: Minchin is quoted for saying that Quiet is his favourite song from the musical, which has become as much a springboard for neurodiversity awareness as an emotional musical anthem.
Miracle: The opening song for the musical celebrates the miracle of life, while simultaneously highlighting Matilda’s parents’ disdain for her ever being born. It’s fun and dark in equal measure.
My House: Softer than Minchin’s other songs, My House is a beautiful yet heartbreaking song sung by the caring Miss Honey, who manages to find the light in the dark no matter her circumstances.
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Matilda The Musical premiered at the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratfordupon- Avon in November 2010 to great critical acclaim, immediately playing to sold-out audiences. It then transferred to London’s West End receiving more rave reviews, a slew of awards, including Best Performance in a Musical at the Theatre Awards UK 2011 and Best New Musical at the Whatsonstage.com awards. In Spring 2013, the production opened on Broadway, where it played for four years, going on to win four Tony awards before it began touring the world.
In total, Matilda The Musical has travelled to 91 cities and won over 100 international awards. More importantly, it’s won the love of its audiences, be they adults or children. So far, over 11 million people have seen the show worldwide. More than a decade on, the production continues to delight audiences of all ages. Don’t be naughty – get your tickets now…
Seeing the show? Make sure you grab a bite to eat before. Hear are some great restaurants to check out close to Dubai Opera so you won’t be late…
Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, 8pm (Sat and Sun 2pm matinee shows), October 3 to 15, tickets from Dhs325. Tel: (0)4 440 8888. @dubaiopera