As well as attending concerts and festivals, I also enjoy going to the theatre. I have only seen a small handful of productions so far; Avenue Q in 2011, Wicked in 2012, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2015 and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in 2017.
On Saturday 30th March 2019, I went to see Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre in London. It was a theatrical adaptation of the classic children’s book by Roald Dahl. The award-winning production was written by Dennis Kelly and the music was created by Tim Minchin.
Without giving away too many spoilers, the performance was spectacular. It was full of excitement, energy and emotion throughout. The whole cast were incredible with outstanding stage presence plus talented in all areas of acting, singing and dancing.
Furthermore, I was amazed how they created some of the action sequences on stage including Amanda Thripp being pulled by her pig tails, Bruce Bogtrotter eating the chocolate cake and Matilda using her powers.
Also, from what was described to me, the sets and auditorium were designed and decorated to detail. There were words surrounding the stage and audience which were mentioned in the show. There were also carefully crafted sets including the library, school classroom, Miss Trunchbull’s office, the Wormwood’s house and Miss Honey’s cottage.
The music in the performance was catchy, emotive, powerful and mesmerising. The entire cast of children and adults sang incredibly, full of passion and enthusiasm. Plus the musicians sounded sensational, breathtaking and dramatic.
Audio Description & Touch Tour
For people with sight loss, we are given an audio description service plus a touch tour of the sets and props. The service is provided by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), who perform various productions in London & Stratford-Upon-Avon.
At the touch tour, I was unable to access the stage in my wheelchair but the team who will be providing the audio description came to me and let me touch some of the props and gave me a verbal description of what can be seen on stage and around the auditorium. I got to touch and hold, a large collection of cakes & doughnuts used in the birthday party scene, a toy teddy bear who’s head gets ripped off by a child, Amanda Thripp’s wig which Miss Truchbull uses to swing her by her pig tails and the heavy parcel of books Matilda carries to and from the library.
For the audio description of the performance, I was provided with a headset which transmits to the describer’s microphones at the back of the auditorium. Twenty minutes before the show, they read out descriptions of the sets, the characters, a bit of background information to the story of Matilda and the cast list. The sound quality was perfect, there were no interferences or technical issues, plus the dialogue was also played through the heasdset so there were no difficulties hearing both the description or the performance.
Overall, I had a wonderful time at the theatre and would highly recommend Matilda the Musical to all children and the child in you.
To find out how to book tickets and when the next accessible performances are, visit the Matilda the Musical accessibility page.
What are your experiences accessing the theatre as a disabled person? Do you have a favourite production you would like to suggest? Please share them in the comments box below or on social media.
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