RSC gives Roald Dahl's "Matilda" musical makeover

Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:52pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The Royal Shakespeare Company is giving the Roald Dahl children's classic "Matilda" a musical makeover, and the man behind the melodies believes adults should enjoy his adaptation as much as kids.

"Matilda, A Musical" has begun previewing at the RSC's home in Stratford-upon-Avon in central England and runs until January 30, with dates close to Christmas Day proving the most popular so far.

"It's a great show for kids, but for me it's more of an 'Oliver!' or 'Mary Poppins'," said Australian comic Tim Minchin, who wrote the music and lyrics for the show.

"I get messages saying 'I need my niece and nephew to come so I can see it', but I say just come," he told Reuters. "It's social satire, like the Simpsons or something.

"I defy any 35-year-old rugby player with his eight rugby mates to come along and not laugh his head off and cry at least once."

In the novel, published in 1988 two years before Dahl's death aged 74, Matilda uses her magical powers to punish her odious parents Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood as well as her even more odious headmistress Miss Trunchbull.

According to Dahl's website, Matilda is the biggest seller among his books for children, which also include "James And The Giant Peach," "Danny the Champion of the World," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "The Twits."

Like other Dahl stories, Matilda has already made it to the big screen in a movie directed by and starring Danny DeVito.   Continued...