I had heard so many great things about Matilda the Musical, which is staged at the Cambridge Theatre in London. With all the hype surrounding it, it also won a record setting 7 Olivier Awards in 2012 including Best New Musical. I therefore just had to book a ticket to go see one of the best things on the West End right now, featuring the smouldering genius of Tim Minchin.
Minchin is a man who started all the way back doing gigs in pubs around Australia, growing through arts festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe, becoming renown on television, and now working alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company to write this incredible score. He is a great addition to the musical and marks the show out as something extraordinary.
Matilda, the iconic novel originally written by Roald Dahl and later turned into a film in 1996, adapts well to the theatrical stage. Miss Trunchbull (Alex Gaumond) had me in stitches, he was brilliant. I’m glad we now have another role in the world of musical theatre where a female character is portrayed by a male. Yes, Miss Trunchbull is a horrible figure, but you can’t help but love Gaumond in this role as he marks himself out as fearsome and hilarious. Miss Honey (Haley Flaherty) gave me chills every time she sang. One moment that stood out the most was when she sang ‘My House’. I really felt it when the lyric “It isn’t much, but it is enough for me,” was sung.
The kids were amazing. I can’t believe they’re so young and full of so much life when on stage. I really couldn’t believe my eyes. Matilda (Lollie McKenzie, and three other young girls on different days) was breath-taking as the young leading lady of the production. Matilda Wormwood is a very intelligent young girl who has an obsession with reading and telling stories. She was even speaking in Russian at one point within the performance. I was like what? I knew this kid was smart, not to that point though.
The choreography was really memorable as well. I couldn’t believe these little ones were doing those sort of moves. The timing was so on point. No mistakes anywhere, everything in unison. There were many moments where I couldn’t stop myself from saying ‘awww’, and not in a patronising way.
The musical made me want to be a kid again so that I could join the cast. They seem to have so much fun on stage. During the musical number ‘When I Grow Up’, which was a highlight, I could get flashbacks to when I was young and wanting to grow up fast. Now I’ve just turned 20 and I’m already looking back.
The combination of the well written book and Minchin’s creative score, filled Matilda the Musical with humour and presents a deeper understanding of individual characters. The electrifying choreography by Peter Darling, the beautiful set design by Rob Howell, and the feel-good music of the orchestra, all comes together to give this musical everything a fresh and incredible afterglow.
They create a rejuvenated approach to Dahl’s original piece. Applause. Applause. Applause. There isn’t anything within this show that I could complain about, because to me it just seemed perfect, the best written musical I have seen in a long time.
Below Tim Minchin discusses and sings ‘When I Grow Up’. Enjoy!
For more information, visit uk.matildathemusical.