Three musicals to report back on. I love musicals. But you probably knew that.
Matilda - RSC, Stratford
To my eternal shame (well, about 10 seconds of shame if I’m honest - it’s only a blog), I missed out Matilda from my January round-up. And it’s so good! If I am completely honest, I didn’t exactly come out humming the Tim Minchin songs - clever though the lyrics are, the music doesn’t stick in your head. The honourable exception to that is Miracle, the opener, which is funny, sharp and clever, and opens the show on exactly the right off-beat note that a Roald Dahl adaptation deserves. The whole show, though, is exuberant, warm-hearted and full of jokes for adults and kids. It also has some wildly enthusiastic dance routines and a couple of routines with swings and a gym vault that had my heart in my mouth. Special mention to Bertie Carvel (who I always love) for his grotesquely brilliant headmistress. If this moves to London, don’t miss it. And tell every parent you know to take their kids - they’ll adore it.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - Donmar
Another month, another madly exuberant musical. Again, songs which didn’t really stay with me, but with a script as funny as this one, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. I didn’t stop laughing from the second it started. It’s got some good singing, some enthusiastic dancing (including an excellent cheerleading bit) and I enjoyed every minute. Big fun all round.
Company - Southwark Playhouse
Oooo, I’d never been to the Southwark Playhouse before - I felt so adventurous! I HATE open seating, by the way, I’ll just get that off my chest first. And if you go to see this show, try to sit in the centre bank - I was house left and I missed out on some of the choreographed numbers. In general, though, it’s worth seeing, if only because Company has some of the loveliest musical theatre numbers ever written - Marry Me a Little and Being Alive in particular, but it’s almost craven to single anything out since the whole show is fabulous. The production itself isn’t perfect - a couple of the songs were awkwardly staged, and a bit further down the cast list you’d have to say there are a couple of weaker links. But the leads, especially Rupert Young as Bobby, are charming, and there is a brilliant comic performance from Katie Brayben as April which is almost worth the price of admission on its own. Oh - stand-out vocal performances were Cassidy Janson and Greg Castilioni singing Getting Married Today - both moving and hilarious. In conclusion - well worth seeing.
Only one (maybe two) more theatre trips this month. Then (deep breath) eight (maybe even nine) in March. Yikes.