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Girl's power play

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-27 07:40
The musical Matilda by the Royal Shakespeare Company is touring China. Based on Roald Dahl's novel, it tells the story of a little girl with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, who dares to stand up for herself against the life challenges. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The sassy and brave titular character of musical stage production Matilda is inspiring and entertaining Chinese audiences in equal measure.

The theater is full of magic.

When 23-year-old Wang Ruoxuan watched the musical, Matilda, on Nov 21 at Beijing's Poly Theater, she was confronted with an explosion of colors, books and letters as children on long rope swings flew back and forth while singing one of the show's headline musical numbers, When I Grow Up.

"I came to watch the musical unprepared for what I was about to see. I had never heard of it before, but now I want to watch it again," says Beijing-based Wang, who is currently pursuing her master's degree in Chinese language at Beijing Normal University.

Wang adds that when she first saw the poster of the musical, which has a little girl standing strong with hands firmly on hips, she thought the musical was for kids.

"In fact, it's a show with a sophisticated story and rich characters," she adds. "It is performed with high energy and projects girl power."

Matilda's first tour in China - which started in July and will continue until January 2020 - kicked off in Dongguan, Guangdong province, and is visiting 13 Chinese cities, including Xi'an, Shaanxi province; Shanghai, and Nanjing in Jiangsu province. From Nov 21 through Dec 1, the musical is being staged in the capital.

The musical Matilda by the Royal Shakespeare Company is touring China. Based on Roald Dahl's novel, it tells the story of a little girl with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, who dares to stand up for herself against the life challenges. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Inspired by the beloved book by British novelist, Roald Dahl (1916-90), the musical Matilda, by the Royal Shakespeare Company, premiered at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2010, and made its Broadway debut in 2013.

It tells the story of the eponymous little girl, who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to stand up for herself against bullies, her cruel parents and awful headmistress, changing her own destiny along the way.

Dahl, whose many classics include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, has had his books translated into 58 languages, with many being adapted for stage and screen - in some cases more than once.

After Dahl's novel Matilda was published in 1988, a popular film starring Danny DeVito and Pam Ferris followed in 1996.

With scripts written by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda has won over 85 international awards, including Tony Awards for best musical and best original score.

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