Posts Tagged ‘Matilda’

BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night joins in the RSC’s 50th Birthday celebrations with music from some of the many films, musicals, ballets and operas inspired by Shakespeares plays. With members of the RSC performing some of the most famous soliloquies from his plays and the 60 piece BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Roderick Dunk, the programme features music ranging from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Verdi’s Ballet Macbeth, William Walton’s Henry V and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet; to Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, Rodgers and Harts The Boys From Syracuse, West Side Story and the film Shakespeare in Love’.

Presented by Samantha Bond, the concert was recorded at the Mermaid Theatre last Saturday – and will be broadcast this Friday evening (10th June.) RSC ensemble members and alumni involved in the recording include: Greg Hicks, Susannah Fielding, Brian Doherty, Rupert Evans, Desmond Barrit, Darrell D’Silva, Brian Doherty and Noma Dumezweni.

 Radio 2 are also producing an interval feature which includes interviews with John Woolf talking about RSC music, Dennis Kelly on Matilda, The Musical, Cis Berry about voice work, Greg Doran on the RSC and Cardenio, Jonathan Slinger on Macbeth and The Homecoming and acting for the RSC, and Jacqui O’Hanlon on the RSC’s Education work.

 It’s Pick of the week in this week’s Radio Times…

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Matilda has won its first award and I am sure not its last. The show was awarded the “Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical” at The Critics’ Circle Awards Ceremony yesterday.  The Award was collected by Matthew Warchus and Josie Griffiths and it is highly unusual for a non- London based musical to win.

Mat Wolf, critic for the International Herald Tribune, who presented the Award, said: ‘I have been to many press nights and have witnessed standing ovations.  But the standing ovation for this show was very different.  I watched the audience which consisted of kids giggling and chatting, adults wiping away a tear and sobbing. Why?  This is a rare show that speaks to people on two levels.  Children respond to the colour, the athletics and the burp joke and the adults respond to that – but also respond to the fact that it is wise, witty profound and extremely smart.  At the end of the musical, there is a pun on Matilda which is better even than Sondheim.  I can honestly say that this is the best British musical I’ve seen in my 27 years in this country.’

Well high praise indeed and let’s hope it is not too long before the show reappears to wow new audiences in London.

The full list of awards for 2011

Best New Play: Clybourne Park (Royal Court)

The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical (new or revival): Matilda, A Musical (Courtyard Theatre RSC)

Best Actor: David Suchet in All My Sons (Apollo Theatre)

Best Actress: Jenny Jules in Ruined (Almeida Theatre)

The John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance: Derek Jacobi in King Lear (Donmar Warehouse)

Best Director (awarded jointly): Michael Grandage for King Lear (Donmar Warehouse); Thea Sharrock for After The Dance (National Theatre)

Best Designer: Bunny Christie for The White Guard (National Theatre)

Most Promising Playwright: Anya Reiss for Spur Of The Moment (Royal Court)

Most Promising Newcomer: Daniel Kaluuya in Sucker Punch (Royal Court)

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Tim Minchin – Wow!

Just back from ‘An audience with Tim Minchin’ at the Courtyard Theatre. I can not decide who is more brilliant him or the RSC for giving him the opportunity to develop his artistic integrity and join the Matilda team.

Although I had noticed him, I had no real knowledge of his work but as was obvious from the audience he has become an obsession for many! I drove home four teenage girls who were slightly swooning over Tim but also demanding to go and see Matilda again after listening to the story of how the songs and the show developed.

 What is satisfactory is to know that because of the successful collaboration between in Tim’s words ‘the greatest theatre company in the world’ and the team put together for Matilda this particular ‘comic’ will have the confidence and backing to go on to create other artistic work for the theatre instead of becoming just another panel show guest. And he has no doubt introduced some newcomers to the joy of live theatre. Also what a fantastic and rare venue the Courtyard was for this type of evening……

Jane Cromack

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I could not but help think of these words this morning as I walked through crisp snow along the path that now leads from Holy Trinity Church to the Theatres. Although the recent heavy fall of snow has been inconvenient for colleagues trying to get into work at the RSC or patrons trying to get to either performances of MATILDA or Theatre Tours, the severe weather certainly does reflect the winters that William Shakespeare must have known when visiting or staying with family at Wilmcote.

What further splendid images he conjures up at the end of LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST!

“And milk comes frozen home in pail”

“When birds sit brooding in the snow”

Mind you, he also talks of “When blood is nipped and ways be foul”, as a reminder that a cold winter can certainly have an uncomfortable side. I hope I do not appear as an incurable romantic, but when I gazed at the Christmas card scene between Church and Theatres, I could not but help  thinking of other splendid words used by Shakespeare to describe this special time of the year:

” Some say that ever gainst that season comes

 Wherein our saviour’s birth is celebrated.

 The bird of dawning singeth all night long… 

The nights are wholesome ..so hallowed

 And so gracious is the time “.

I hope all who read this (wherever you spend Christmas ) have a truly merry one and a very happy New Year. As we all prepare to join in the RSC’s 50th birthday celebrations, we know we have so much to look forward to, and to reflect on this my next blog will have a Janus like approach. To be continued…

Season’s greetings to all!

Tony Boyd-Williams

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Richard Cordery is currently appearing in the West End transfer of the Chichester musical “Love Story”. It runs at the Duchess Theatre until 26th February.
There’s a great interview with Sam Troughton and Mariah Gale to coincide with the opening of “Romeo & Juliet” at the Roundhouse. Check it out on http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/
And finally, for those who love “Matilda” and I’m with Tony on this: it is FANTASTIC, there’s an interview with Tim Minchin, who wrote the music and lyrics in this wonderful show, on the Whatsonstage website http://www.whatsonstage.com/index.php?pg=198&types=Z&site=D


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As previously indicated, my wife and I took our eldest granddaughter to a recent matinee of MATILDA. It was her first visit to The Courtyard and she thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. The two “grown up children”  also had a marvellous time, but I think this is the secret of this wonderful show .In fact, it seems that adults are returning again and again and again. Now that IS significant!

Watching the show for the second time, it was fascinating to experience the interpretation of another talented Matilda (Adrianna Bertola) and to see the production quite literally from another angle. Last time it was from the rear of the stalls, and this time it was from the side of the circle. This meant I was nearer to marvel at the fantastic movement/choreography and also the ingenious way director Matthew Warchus has used the entire auditorium for special production moments and I’m NOT going to reveal these for those who might not yet have seen the show.

If you haven’t then I strongly advise you to make haste to book your tickets before it is a case of RETURNS ONLY for all future performances in Stratford. I say “in Stratford “, because after reading some of the marvellous press notices  it seems clear that this wonderful show will soon be joining Les Miserables as another RSC musical that will be taking the West End by storm. 

Miss Trunchbull has the now celebrated references to “winners and losers “. Here, we certainly have a winner and quite possibly the first (as suggested recently by Michael Boyd ) instance of a West End musical beginning life on a thrust stage. To all concerned – Bravo indeed!

Tony Boyd-Williams

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In case you have not been waiting for press night to book your tickets – here is an early review from Tony! –

For me and I’m sure countless others – this sums up the glorious family show that is MATILDA. I was fortunate to attend the first preview with all the theatrical excitement such occasions bring. Before the performance began, Matthew Warchus came out to inform us that the young lady who was to have played Matilda was indisposed and so one of the other young ladies scheduled to play the role was going on with ten minutes notice.

I can’t comment on the other two Matildas, but on this occasion Kerry Ingram certainly deserved the standing ovation she received at the end of the show. Ten minutes notice? Fantastic – what a stellar performance!

To be fair, all the young people taking part on this occasion gave marvellous performances (as did the grown ups!) with incredible movement and panache on The Courtyard stage. Matthew and the whole production team have truly come up trumps with a show that was so aptly summed up by a colleague in The Duck afterwards -“We’ve got another hit on our hands “.

I’m now looking forward to this coming Saturday when my wife and I are taking our eldest granddaughter to the matinee. She is going to love it and I think the two older “chlidren” with her are also going to have another great time!

More to follow.

Tony Boyd-Williams

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Arabian Night's picture by Keith Pattison

I don’t think anyone could complain about Arabian Nights, the 09/10   Christmas show at the RSC. It was fabulous entertainment with a large, energetic and very beautiful cast.  It was a proper blood thirsty and moral production with clever stage direction, mime, music, dance, puppets and all in glorious colour. We enjoyed it as a family on Boxing Night and again later in January. It was a pleasure to see and appreciate Dominic Cooke’s adaptation and direction more than ably supported by a fine production team. This show marks a return to traditional family Christmas entertainment and we’ll all look forward to the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda later this year.

Our second treat was Cinderella at Warwick Arts. This delightful Lyric, Hammersmith Christmas production was more compact and a quieter show. It was, however, in the same narrator/actor style with a really beautiful set. There was a lot of movement and quick costume changes as the cast assumed different characters. It was a marvellous show with a terrific one-man band and lovely, lovely paper birds. 

Finally we added Nation, the live transmission from the National, at the Picture House cinema. Again, a terrific show with inventive contemporary staging that included music, puppets, dance and a very fine cast.

We have really enjoyed the best line up of Christmas shows ever. All were visual treats with no allowance for sentiment and sugar coating – just telling it how it is and the way kids like it.

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