It’s almost eight years since a little but mighty show called Matilda first opened in Stratford-upon-Avon. Based on the novel by the legendary children’s author Roald Dahl and with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, the award-winning musical moved in to the West End’s Cambridge Theatre the following year, and has been delighting audiences of all ages there ever since – many of us more than once.
Why this universal appeal? Well, perhaps it’s because even though the central character – Matilda Wormwood – is only five years old, she’s the kind of person most of us wish we could be. Not only is she much cleverer than a lot of grown-ups, she’s also braver, kinder and has a far clearer understanding of the difference between right and wrong, as well as a greater willingness to step up and fight when she sees something that’s not fair. There’s a lot we can learn from her – so to celebrate the show’s (almost) 8th birthday, here are 8 ways we can all #BeMoreMatilda…
1. Don’t let other people write your story
It’s your life – so stop worrying about what other people think, and live it the way you want. She may only be five years old, but Matilda already knows who she is and what she likes, and she isn’t about to let her horrible parents, or her evil (and slightly unhinged) headmistress, tell her she’s doing it wrong.
2. Turn off the telly and read a book
Despite the best efforts of Mr Wormwood to convince us that books rot kids’ brains and make them boring, put bookworm Matilda next to her TV addict brother Michael, and there’s only ever going to be one winner… (All together now: “Backwards!”)
3. Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty
It may be true that two wrongs don’t make a right – but it’s also true that you can’t always beat injustice by sticking to the rules. If Matilda teaches us anything, it’s that sometimes you have to think outside the box and get creative – even if it does mean being a little bit naughty.
4. Learn to speak another language
Speaking another language is a great skill to have – it can help you get a better job, make new friends, see the world; there’s even evidence it can help delay the onset of conditions like dementia. But most importantly, you never know when it might come in handy to save your family from the Russian mob.
5. Work on your power pose
Matilda has a number of signature power poses, and she may well be on to something, as apparently there’s scientific theory proving a good power pose can do wonders for your confidence. Also, let’s be honest – it’s quite fun.
6. Never let a little thing like “little” stop you
Nobody proves better than Matilda that size isn’t everything. She may be tiny, but she doesn’t let that stop her taking on her huge, hammer-throwing headmistress, Miss Trunchbull – who, like most bullies, is also a massive coward. And she’s not the only one; inspired by her example, it’s the “revolting children” who ultimately come out on top.
7. Be proud of being a girl
Guess what, Mr Wormwood? Not having a “thingy” isn’t the end of the world… 😉
8. If it’s not right… put it right
A particularly powerful one to end on. Whether it’s destroying library books, force feeding chocolate cake to a small child or, er, murdering someone’s dad and stealing his house, Matilda knows when something isn’t right, and she won’t let anyone get away with it. If we all took a leaf out of her book and stood up against injustice wherever we saw it, just imagine what a very different – and much better – place the world could be.
Want to #BeMoreMatilda? Why not start by booking your tickets to this funny, inspiring and ever so slightly bonkers show – visit matildathemusical.com to find out more.