Matilda: the Musical
Matilda - SYNOPSIS
Act OneAs a chorus of children boast "My mummy says I'm a miracle" the ballroom-dancing obsessed T.V. addict Mrs. Wormwood gives birth to a baby girl called Matilda Wormwood. Whilst the doctor professes Matilda the most beautiful child he has ever seen Mrs. Wormwood is more worried about a dancing-contest she has missed and Mr. Wormwood, a dodgy used-car salesman, dismisses the child as "an ugly little thing" (and also automatically assumes it is, and wishes it was, a boy) ("Miracle").Five years later, Matilda lives an unhappy existence with Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood and her older, gormless brother Michael. At only five years old Matilda can already read and gets through several books a week. The Wormwoods are oblivious to Matilda's gift and frequently mock and verbally abuse her. Matilda, who believes that anything that's not right must be put right, realises that sometimes, to make things right, you have to be a little bit ("Naughty"); so adds some of her mother's hydrogen peroxide to her father's hair oil, leaving Mr. Wormwood with bright green hair.At the local library Matilda, who frequently entertains the librarian, Mrs. Phelps, with exciting tales, begins to tell Mrs. Phelps a new story about an extraordinary Acrobat and Escapologist; internationally famous they are beloved by all and wow crowds with their daring performances. The Acrobat and Escapologist long to have a child but have been unable to conceive. To distract themselves from their sadness the pair announce to the world press that they will be performing an exciting and dangerous new act: "The Burning Woman Hurling Through The Air, With Dynamite In Her Hair, Over Sharks and Spiky Objects Caught By The Man Locked In The Cage".The next day is Matilda's first day at school. As her classmates arrive with the usual nervousness of a child going to school for the first time, the older children do nothing to dispel their fears, instead warning them that even putting in effort there, is a waste of energy ("School Song"). Her teacher, Miss Honey, is immediately impressed by Matilda's precociousness and ability, so she resolves to recommend that Matilda is moved to the top class with the older children ("Pathetic"). However, the headmistress, Miss Trunchbull (a cruel and sadistic disciplinarian and former hammer-throwing world champion, who firmly believes in the school motto: "Bambinatum est Maggitum" -- Children Are Maggots), dismisses Miss Honey's suggestion and lectures her on the importance of adhering strictly to "The Rules" ("The Hammer").Back at the Wormwood household, Mr. Wormwood is frustrated that a group of wealthy Russians didn't fall for his lies about a number of worn-down old cars he had been trying to sell them at exorbitant prices. He takes his frustration out on Matilda and destroys one of her library books; prompting her to put superglue around the rim of his hat.At school, Matilda learns of Miss Trunchbull's cruel punishments, including Chokey, a tiny, dank cupboard with broken glass and nails in the walls and floor that she locks naughty children in for hours on end ("The Chokey Chant"). Matilda soon witnesses Trunchbull's wickedness firsthand when the furious headmistress spins a small girl around by her pigtails and throws her across the playing field.Meanwhile, Miss Honey decides to pay the Wormwoods a visit to express her recommendation that Matilda be put in an advanced class. She meets Mrs. Wormwood and her faux-Italian ballroom-dance partner Rudolpho. It soon becomes apparent to Miss Honey that Mrs. Wormwood couldn't care less about her daughter's advanced intelligence and Mrs. Wormwood mocks Miss Honey's interest in books and intellect over television and make-up ("Loud"). Alone outside the Wormwood household, Miss Honey is desperate to help Matilda ("This Little Girl").Matilda tells Mrs. Phelps more about the Acrobat and the Escapologist. The performance of their new feat has been arranged by the Acrobat's sister, a former world champion hammer-thrower who loves to scare small children. Just before their act begins the Escapologist announces that the performance will be cancelled as the Acrobat is pregnant. The crowd is thrilled, but the Acrobat's sister is furious at the prospect of refunding the crowd's money and produces a contract that the Acrobat and Escapologist have signed binding them to performing the act or else spending the rest of their lives in jail.At school, Bruce Bogtrotter, a boy in Matilda's class, has stolen a slice of Miss Trunchbull's personal chocolate cake. When she discovers this, she decides to punish Bruce by forcing him to eat an entire cake all by himself in front of the class, who bravely support him ("Bruce"). After Bruce has finished the cake, the class celebrates his success but Miss Trunchbull drags Bruce away for the second part of his punishment: Chokey.
Act TwoAt the end of the interval, Mr. Wormwood appears with a disclaimer, apologising for the show's rampant support for reading and warns children that if they do read they will go blind, become smelly and get verrucas (of the soul). He then introduces what he considers to be "the pinnacle of man's success and the reason we evolved out of unicorns in the first place": television ("Telly").After the 'Entr'acte' the children sing about how they imagine adulthood is like, Miss Honey laments and Matilda resolves to put an end to Miss Trunchbull's cruelty ("When I Grow Up"). Lavender, a girl in Matilda's class, confides in the audience that, in a bit "coming up", after being given the job of preparing Miss Trunchbull's jug of water, she finds a newt and puts it in the jug.Matilda tells Mrs. Phelps more about the Acrobat and the Escapologist. Bound to their contract they perform the feat and all seems to go well until the last moment when the Acrobat slips and falls to the ground breaking every bone in her body (except the ones at the ends of her little fingers); she lives just long enough to give birth to a beautiful baby girl. The Acrobat's sister soon moves into the house with the Escapologist and his daughter. She is incredibly cruel to the little
girl, forcing her to do menial tasks and frequently abusing her verbally and physically, but the Escapologist is too saddened by his wife's death to notice.Mr. Wormwood returns home from work delighted that he has been able to sell the worn-down cars to the wealthy Russians after all, having hit on a plan to use an automatic drill to wind back the odometers on the cars, seemingly reducing the mileage. Matilda is annoyed at her father's flagrant deceit and tells him off for it. This angers Mr. Wormwood and he verbally abuses Matilda before locking her in her bedroom. That night Matilda continues the story of the Acrobat and the Escapologist on her own. After years of cruelty the Acrobat's sister's fits of rage have grown to the point where, one night, she beats the Escapologist's daughter, tells her she is a "useless, flilthy, nasty little creep" and locks her in the basement and goes out. However that evening the Escapologist returns home early and hears his daughter crying in the basement. He breaks down the door and discovers the extent of the Acrobat's Sister's cruelty. As he comforts his daughter he promises her he will always be there for her from now on, as his wife had made him promise on her deathbed. Filled with a sudden rage, he runs out into the night to find the Acrobat's sister, but is never seen again ("I'm Here").The next day, Miss Trunchbull forces Miss Honey's class to participate in a grueling physical education lesson ("The Smell of Rebellion"). When she goes to drink from her water jug, she discovers the newt inside and immediately accuses the first child she lays eyes on. Matilda stands up and tells Miss Trunchbull off for being a bully. Trunchbull launches into a tirade of abuse against Matilda, but Matilda retreats in her mind to a place where everything is 'Quiet' and discovers she has the ability to move objects with her mind ("Quiet"). With her newfound ability, she tips over the Trunchbull's water jug, soaking her in water and newt ending up in her knickers. Afterwards, Matilda demonstrates her powers to Miss Honey. Taken aback, Miss Honey invites Matilda back to her house for a cup of tea. On the way there Matilda finally admits that her father is not proud of her and calls her names (having previously failed to correct Mrs Phelps's assumptions of how proud her parents must be).Miss Honey's house turns out to be nothing more than an old farm shed. Matilda discovers that Miss Honey has been forced to live in abject poverty by her cruel and abusive aunt, who looked after her as a child after her parents died. When Miss Honey first got her job as a teacher, the aunt produced a bill of every meal and drink Miss Honey had ever had as a child, as well as any other conceivable expense, and forced Miss Honey to sign a contract binding her to pay it all back. Despite all this, Miss Honey manages to find a simple beauty in her meagre living conditions. As Miss Honey tells her story, Matilda soon realises that the story of the Acrobat and the Escapologist is the story of Miss Honey's childhood, and that the wicked aunt is Miss Trunchbull, who murdered the Escapologist, Miss Honey's father ("My House").Back at school Miss Trunchbull forces the children to participate in a spelling test; anyone who fails to spell a word correctly to be sent to Chokey. As she discovers the children have been taught well by Miss Honey, and fail to misspell a single word, Miss Trunchbull invents a word to force the children into Chokey. As the victim of being given this word to spell fails and is about to be taken to Chokey, her classmates one by one deliberately misspell simple words, declaring "I spelt it wrong miss, you'll have to put me in Chokey too" and "You can't put us all in Chokey". But Miss Trunchbull replies that she can - she has built many, many more Chokeys. But at this moment Matilda uses her powers to make a piece of chalk write on the blackboard and make Miss Trunchbull believe that it is the ghost of Miss Honey's father demanding that the Trunchbull give his daughter back her house or he'd get her "like she got him" and then leave. This causes the Trunchbull to run from the school screaming, and the children celebrate their new found anarchic freedom ("Revolting Children").At the library, Miss Honey and Mrs. Phelps tell of the aftermath of the events; a few days after the Trunchbull had run away, Miss Honey received a letter from a solicitor saying that her father's will had mysteriously been found and all his money and his house was left to her. Miss Trunchbull was never seen by anyone ever again, and Miss Honey became the new headmistress of the school. They tell how Matilda was never again able to use her powers - Matilda says she doesn't need to, but Miss Honey would be angered that the girl who'd done so much to help her and others was still stuck with such a cruel family. Mrs Phelps says that's the end and that stories don't always have happy endings. At that moment the Wormwoods arrive at the library in a panic telling Matilda that she has to leave with them now as they are running away to Spain. It transpires that the wealthy Russians Mr. Wormwood was dealing with were in fact the Russian Mafia who are not at all happy about being sold broken cars. Miss Honey asks if Matilda can stay with her, but before a decision can be made, the Mafia arrive. Sergei, the head of the Mafia, is impressed and moved by Matilda's intellect and respect, and he agrees to not harm the Wormwoods (as long as he never has to deal with Mr Wormwood again when doing business).
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