Since the stage musical kicked off it has featured in the West End and on Broadway. Matilda the Musical, inspired by Roald Dahl’s Matilda, was adapted by Dennis Kelly with comedian Tim Minchin taking on the task of writing the music and lyrics. It is a critically acclaimed show that has won dozens of awards in its run and it continues its run of success.
The premise is magical, literally, as Matilda slyly relies on books, stories, words and language as weapons of defence against her antagonists.
You see, at home Matilda suffers of insufferable parents. Mr. Wormwood (Rick Holmes) is sleazy and slimy, too busy doting on her older brother who is attached to the television, and her mother (Amy Spanger) is all about ballroom dance competitions and the motto “looks, not books,” which for Matilda is unfortunate, as books are her lifeblood. The poor mite is forced to sneak around to read in peace, as her parents regard books on the same level as others might view that television her brother is attached to- poison. Books are the only escape Matilda has.
Through the music and exhilarating tale that dreaded feeling we have all felt is captured perfectly. As children tucked up in bed, worried about monsters in the closet, the first day of school, or a horrible teacher or bully. A feeling adults still feel as Monday approached after a weekend off, or a meeting looms near. We can still understand that feeling of apprehension and dread as the story unfolds.
Matilda is caught between the terrible order obsessed Miss Trunchbull (played wonderfully by Christopher Sieber) spiralling closer and closer to a nervous breakdown and the delightful Miss Honey (Allison Case), who is as lonely as young Matilda and simply looking to help her student escape a terrible life. We are offered an insight into the terrifying dark recesses of Miss Trunchbull, as in one number she imagines a world without children.
Matilda Wormwood weaves her magic,exploiting the gift of telekinesis to overcome obstacles at home and at school, sending Miss Trunchbull over the edge and ultimately takes control of her life in the process. She doesn’t just use that magic to bail herself out, though, she uses it to help her friends escape punishment at the hands of the dreaded Miss Trunchbull, too.
The musical numbers by Minchin are an absolute delight, carrying you through the story with an often gothic feel.He weaves the loneliness of both Miss Honey and Matilda into their songs, showing the audience that they are indeed soulmates in their despair.
There are three young actresses taking on the role of Matilda: Ava Briglia, Willow McCarthy and Aviva Winick. Regardless of which one is on the night of your visit, you will be suitably entertained.