Matilda the Musical, Sydney: What to do with children over a weekend in the city

“Children are revolting: the smell of rebellion comes out in the sweat… reeking with a most disturbing scent.”

Oh, what rich lyrics they are, from the marvellous Matilda the Musical.

Usually, I’d rather stick needles in my nipples than go to the theatre. But Tim Minchin’s wicked words make this show, at Sydney’s Lyric theatre, a must-see. Unsurprisingly, Matilda has won seven Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical: the most won by a single show at the time.

Matilda the Musical stars Georgia, Bela, Sasha and Molly at Luna Park Sydney.  Photo: James Morgan

For the uninitiated, the narrative centres on a precocious five-year-old girl who loves reading. Despite being born unloved, and unwanted, to obnoxious parents, she connects with a special teacher at school to reclaim her life.

Whether you live in Sydney, or are visiting for the show, why not explore some of the sights this little girl would love?

This is Matilda’s Top 5 Guide to Sydney, according to Destination NSW:

Luna Park: The 1930s amusement park is the perfect place for mini-Matildas to be “LOUD!” Here, they can burn off energy riding the terrifying Tango Train, or learn about the park’s history during an on-site tour.

Observatory Hill: This is a lovely spot to while away the hours, reading a good book, overlooking glorious Sydney Harbour. It’s where Matilda could perhaps find some, “Quiet… Like silence, but not really silent… Just that still sort of quiet”.

Sydney Theatre Walk: Along Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay, this walk honours legends of the performing arts, including Geoffrey Rush, Jacki Weaver, Cate Blanchett and, of course, Matilda’s composer and lyricist, Tim Minchin.

Museums and Libraries: Matilda has a thirst for knowledge, spending much of her time telling fantastical stories to the local librarian. The Museum of Sydney and State Library of NSW are full of facts about the city’s past and present.

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk: In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow”. Matilda could fuel her imagination on this famous walk, past beautiful beaches and shimmering rock pools. Or perhaps participate in a workshop, picnic or performance, as part of the 12-week Barangaroo Welcome Celebration at the new six-hectare harbour foreshore park. Each month celebrates a different theme: stone, sea and sky.

Even if you’re not a fan of musicals, this is a wonderful weekend away.

(I liked it so much, I burst into tears during the standing ovation. My shy daughter was mortified. I kept standing, as my own form of rebellion. Yes, children can be revolting …)

To paraphrase the kids in the musical, if you don’t come to see Matilda, “That’s not right. And if it’s not right, you have to put it right. But nobody else is gonna put it right for me. Nobody but me is gonna change my story. Sometimes you have to be a little bit … naughty”.

Matilda the Musical runs until November.

The writer and her daughter saw Matilda the Musical as guests of The Star Sydney.

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