Last Saturday I visited the Cambridge Theatre next to London’s Covent Garden to see Matilda The Musical and as it’s based off the fabulous book of the same name by Roald Dahl I couldn’t resist writing a short post – and it’s my blog so here goes. :p
I’m not going to go into details of the story – as I don’t really see the point (if you really don’t know you can check out my re-read of Matilda post). What I will say though is that the Wormwoods characters are expanded significantly making them much more of a presence all the way through. There’s something else added as well, well – more a different way of approaching something (but I’m not saying what :p) Both of these additions are brilliantly in keeping with the original story – extra comedy, extra extravagant and this little spark which makes the musical just that little bit unique and stand out from the original book and the film adaption. Dennis Kelly has done a sterling job writing the book.
The children, oh – the children! Matilda is at its very core a story centred around a child and young children in a school – it is inescapable that the main child roles have to be played by children and what an astounding job they do. I couldn’t do what they do now let alone when I was there age. Of course I loved Matilda (Elsie Blake) but there was something about Lavender (Emily Robins) … I couldn’t resist smiling the moment she appeared. And I can’t not mention Bruce (George King)!*
Don’t panic though – adults are present! Mrs Trunchball (Alex Gaumond) makes a fantastic Mrs Trunchball. Just as brutal as the book – big and brash – when she appears all eyes are drawn to her and you know to be quiet! Mrs Wormwood (Kay Murphy) is hilarious – so many of the comedic moments come from the interactions between her and Mr Wormwood (James Clyde). And I can’t leave out Miss Honey (Hayley Flaherty) – the character development we see inspired by this little girl comes shining through in spades.
The sets are superb – made out of large scrabble pieces and arranged to spell out words. Obviously Matilda is spelt out in multiple places but there are other words – it made for great fun before the show (and during the interval) trying to work out what the words were … then realising the reason that one word didn’t make sense was because I missed the letter ‘e’ at the top!
I did get an amazing view, what with being in seat A13 – (front row and central isle seat). All be it a little bit eek when one of the swings sailed above my head! I may have been very tempted to duck!
Matilda is after all a musical so I can’t go a whole review without mentioning the, er .. um … MUSIC!
Music and Lyrics are written by the amazing Tim Minchin – his songs bring the whole musical to life. I’ll admit I listened to the cast recording once on Spotify before I saw the show and I have to admit apart from a few of the main songs (When I Grow Up, Revolting Children) I wasn’t sure. But having seen the show – the whole thing clicks and now I can’t stop listening to it. Of course those main songs are always going to be my favourite but now with the in-jokes established in my memory – I can listen to the whole thing again and again!
It’s no surprise to me that the ‘Full House’ sign was outside the theatre – I wouldn’t be surprised if this appears regularly. I think this is a musical that is going to run and run and run … and I certainly hope it does. If you get the opportunity to see Matilda The Musical, grab it both with hands – it’s fabulously scrumptious, perfectly unique and completely special!
You can thank me later!
*Between 3 and 4 children play each of these roles – I didn’t think to take a photo of who was playing who on this performance but I’m pretty sure these names are correct!