Review of Matilda The Musical in Singapore – Great whether you’ve read the book or not!

March 24, 2024

The award winning musical Matilda is currently playing at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands. I caught the musical together with my 8 year old son, who has also read the book, a year or two ago, and both of us enjoyed the performance very much. My 8 year old even proclaimed that it was the best show he has ever watched, although I have to highlight that he hasn’t watched all that many shows in his 8 years.

Many would be familiar with Matilda, a popular story from beloved children’s books author Roald Dahl. In fact, ask anyone who has read the book, and more likely than not they would divulge that Matilda is one of their favourite stories amongst those that Roald Dahl has written. I mean, which child doesn’t love a story about a down-trodden child fighting back against powerful and unfair people, namely her parents and the principal of her school?

Without revealing any spoilers, let me just say that the musical loosely follows the storyline of Matilda having to suffer parents that don’t love her. When she goes to school, she has to deal with the fearsome headmistress Miss Trunchbull. Miss Honey the teacher, the one bright spark in Matilda’s life is also part of the musical. What happens in between is fair game for adaptation.

Fans loyal to the original story might complain but similar to movies adapted from storybooks, it never was going to be possible to stick to the original storyline to begin with. As necessary in a stage performance, there was more drama, and theatrical elements introduced to elicit laughter and a reaction from the audience. I loved it whenever Miss Trunchbull was on stage because there was sure to be something funny about it. Might I add that my new favourite word to fling in the direction of any pesky children is “maggot!”

I actually quite enjoyed this version of Matilda. I was a little worried that the show might be a bit too predictable given that we have read the book. But the new elements introduced let us hang on in anticipation of the next scene. Likewise, those who have never read Matilda before would also be able to enjoy the performance as the adapted version is entertaining in its own right.

The songs from the Matilda musical were also catchy and nice. It was a breath of fresh air to be able to listen to new songs, as my last two musicals (&Juliet and Mamma Mia) employed existing songs. I think they also deployed the stage sets, lighting and sound to good effect too. Kudos to the cast, especially to the younger ones, for maintaining their boundless energy even towards the end of the show.

Winner of 101 international awards, including 24 for Best Musical, and having played in London’s West End and across the world for over a decade, I would highly recommend Matilda The Musical, whether you’re a fan of the book or not.

Photo credits: Hanan Assor

Showdates : 9 March – 7 April
Ticket Pricing: $68 – $258
Book tickets: via MBS Sands Theatre website | Klook website (Use promo code <<365days2play>> to get 5% discount for all Klook activities including discounted Matilda tickets with min. spend of SGD$50. Discount capped at SGD$15)

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