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News: 'Matilda & Me' - Pick of the Week - The Australian

Updated: May 12, 2022

Lyndall Crisp, 1 April, 2016

TV editor Lyndall Crisp selects Matilda & Me as her pick of the week

Anyone who grew up with Roald Dahl’s novels or read them to their children would appreciate the brilliance of the storyteller who died aged 74 in 1990. A World War II fighter pilot, he sold more than 200 million books worldwide. Esio Trot, Fantastic Mr Fox and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to name a few, were made into movies, as was Matilda, published in 1988.

But it was the musical version, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin for the Royal Shakespeare Company, that became an international sensation. The RSC performed it for the first time in 2010 at Stratford-on-Avon; the story about a smart little girl with exceptional powers who is determined to fight injustice at home and at school has been a hit everywhere from London to New York.

This documentary, presented by Minchin’s sister Nel, looks at how this mouthy comedian — born in Northampton but reared in Perth — got the gig (his bare feet and blue eye shadow rocked the panel) he’d been dreaming of all his life. “It can’t be possible that he’s a great rock singer and who’s also written the music and lyrics; I think I’m going to hate this guy,” Andrew Lloyd Webber says. Family videos show a happy childhood on a farm and at the beach. “As a little kid I was dim and pretty fat,” Minchin says. “I also had allergies and terrible asthma. And I was deaf as a post.” Not a great start, but talent will out.

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