Matilda brings it home

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - Tanya Macnaughton

SELF-CON­FESSED theatre nerd Jac­inta John grew up in Ned­lands with kin­dred spirit Tim Minchin.

The pair spent their teenage years to­gether pur­su­ing their cre­ative pas­sion for the stage at Christ Church Gram­mar-based Mid­nite Youth Theatre Com­pany but parted ways when John grad­u­ated from PLC and went to Lon­don to study act­ing and Minchin at­tended UWA and WAAPA be­fore mov­ing to Mel­bourne.

Fate re­united them in 2014 when John, who was now in Syd­ney and had started dab­bling in di­rect­ing, be­gan work­ing with as­so­ci­ate di­rec­tor Nik Ash­ton on stag­ing the Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion of Matilda the Mu­si­cal fea­tur­ing mu­sic and lyrics by Minchin.

“We’d kept up with each other’s work over the years but it wasn’t un­til I got the job on Matilda that I bumped into Tim again prop­erly,” John said.

“I told him I was go­ing to be work­ing on his show and that was kinda cute to come full cir­cle.”

Since then John did a stint as as­sis­tant di­rec­tor on Minchin’s fol­lowup mu­si­cal Ground­hog Day in Lon­don be­fore re­turn­ing to Matilda the Mu­si­cal

as res­i­dent di­rec­tor for the Bris­bane and Perth sea­sons.

She said delv­ing into Minchin’s cre­ativ­ity ev­ery day was a joy.

“He’s re­ally brainy and be­cause of that you don’t ever tire of the work; that’s the same for Den­nis Kelly and Roald Dahl and his orig­i­nal story,” John said.

“They’re all so bright that it’s a com­plex, de­tailed work.

“I think it was the per­fect storm to have some­one like Den­nis Kelly adapt­ing Roald Dahl’s novel and some­one like Tim Minchin come on as the lyri­cist and com­poser. They’re all a bit naughty and just the per­fect team with their wicked per­sonal take on life.”

John still con­sid­ers Perth as home and has re­turned dur­ing her ca­reer for pro­duc­tions at Black Swan State Theatre Com­pany and with tours of The Mouse­trap and A Mur­der is An­nounced.

She will stay with her mum in Fre­man­tle dur­ing the Crown Theatre Perth sea­son from Feb­ru­ary 28.

“I grew up in Perth go­ing to see amaz­ing shows; my first mu­si­cal ex­pe­ri­ence was watch­ing Les Mis­er­ables at His Majesty’s Theatre and that opened my eyes to theatre and the world I wanted to be in­volved in,” John said.

“It’s amaz­ing to come home with a mu­si­cal of this na­ture; a show that is not only bril­liant in its scale and size but has the most in­cred­i­ble heart, beauty and such a lovely mes­sage that even though you’re lit­tle, you can do a lot.

“So I’m re­ally ex­cited that I get to come home with this show be­cause I know how loved and adored it is and how it will not only in­form kids want­ing to go into the in­dus­try but also just em­power them in life to do good things. The char­ac­ter Matilda does just that and she’s a great role model.”

Pic­ture: Tanya Macnaughton

Jac­inta John.

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