Matilda the Musical is without questions one of the most enjoyable pieces of theatre I have ever seen.
First published in 1988 Roald Dahl’s Matilda has being entertaining children and adults alike for over 20 years.
With a film and radio adaption already under its belt The Royal Shakespeare Company have taken the timeless and exceptional story and created the best musical currently playing in London – if not, the world.
Matilda (played superbly by Demetriou) is a five year old genius. She’s been reading since she was two and has the intellect of well above average adult; however her mother and father (Walker and Kaye) couldn’t care less and are far more interested in ballroom dancing and selling dodgy cars. This disregard for her brilliance is further experienced when she stars school at Trunchem Hall, run by the hideous and gruesome head teacher Miss Trunchbull (Carvel is fantastic); who believes children are the unavoidable annoyance before they become adults. Her only solace is found in Miss Honey (Ward) who is one of the few people in Matilda’s life who can see just how brilliant she really is.
Matilda the Musical is without questions one of the most enjoyable pieces of theatre I have ever seen. From the moment you walk into the auditorium you are transported into her curious and fascinating world as the glorious set extends far past the front of the stage, escaping and appealing the audience before the performance has even begun.
However this is when the sheer delight really begins and my eyes became fixed from the opening song Miracle, performed by a company of child actors who’s talent isn’t matched by many an actor working on the London Stage. The rest of the songs are quirky, cheeky and very, very catchy thanks to the peculiar mind of composer, Tim Minchin; my favourites being Naughty, Loud and Revolting Children.
The star of the show is without question Cleo Demetriou as Matilda who is simply extraordinary as the remarkable little girl. Whether she be singing and dancing with the required attitude or regaling Miss Phelps with her story of the Trapeze artist and his wife she is a pleasure to watch and despite not being her mother, I beamed with pride.
She only narrowly beats Bertie Carvel as Miss Trunchbull who, with the exception of Demetriou, is one of the best things about this musical. I loved his take on the ghastly Head Teacher as he delivered a subtle yet human quality to the character which made her all the more beastly; my only criticism is that we did not see enough of him.
Matilda the Musical is a show for everyone whether you are aged 6 or 60 and have read the novel or not. The story will bring you to tears and the performances will make an impression that you won’t soon forget. Whether you beg, borrow, steal or save up all your pocket money – make sure you get a ticket!
Cast includes: Cleo Demetriou, Bertie Carvel, Paul Kaye, Lauren Ward and Josie Walker
Matilda the Musical is playing until February 2012. For more information and to book tickets please visit:
The Itchy Feet Guide 2019