Matilda is a story we all know and love; whether you grew up reading the book by Roald Dahl, or saw the story bought to life in the 1996 film – it’s a firm family favourite. When I was offered the chance to review the musical I jumped at the chance, quicker than you can shout “NEWT!”. I was gifted a ticket to the performance at Southampton Mayflower Theatre and went along with Southampton Bloggers.
Matilda the Musical, from the Royal Shakespeare Company has won a lot of awards and it’s immediately easy to see why then the curtains go up. The production is a very clever adaptation of the original story and where I expected that some key scenes (no spoilers) might have been missed, everything I knew and loved from the original book was there.
From the very start of the performance, the set and the use of the props was fantastically clever; moving from one to another completely seamlessly and with no break in character. Even from the very tiny but extremely talented cast of children who starred in Matilda. With Freya Scott as Matilda, Presley Charman as the unfortunate Bruce Bogtrotter and Chantelle Tonolete as the enthusiastic Lavender; every single one was on point the whole way through and I left feeling exhausted for them! Between the complex and clever choreography and the catchy and energetic songs, they put in a mammoth effort from start to finish.
Special mention, though, has to go to Elliot Harper who plays the one and only Agatha Trunchbull. Harper absolutely nails the mannerisms of Miss Trunchbull; from her stance and the way she peers at the children (maggots), to the way Harper swoops and sneaks around the set. For me, Trunchbull stole the show and commanded my attention the whole way through. It was a perfect mix of comedy, camp and the manic Miss Trunchbull we already love to hate.
I loved that Matilda the Musical managed to follow the original story line, but with plenty of comic relief along the way – if you’ve seen the production by now you’ll know what I mean when I talk about Rudolpho’s flouncing, Wormwood’s chirping and bleating at his family, and Trunchbull.. trunching!
Matilda is easily one of the best musicals I have ever seen and I’ve been raving about it ever since. It’s perfect for the whole family; with a subtle mix of entertainment for older children, and adult jokes for everyone else.
IF you’d like to find out more about Matilda, you can find all the information and more reviews here. At the time of writing there are still some tickets left to see Matilda at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton – but I doubt they will be around for long!