Matilda is a production that I have been dying to see since it opened on the West End in 2013. As a fan of Tim Minchin and everything Roald Dahl I knew that this would be the musical for me. So, I may have had quite high expectations going in but this production met every one.
The performance opened with a flourish and a very on-the-nose number which choruses: ‘My Mummy says I’m a miracle!’ It set the perfect tone of humour that appealed to both the wonder struck children that surrounded me, amazed by the amazing moving set pieces, and the self-deprecating laughs of the parents who recognised a small part of themselves in the picture-taking chorus performers.
Of course, the fun and games eventually made way for the one little girl who is not a miracle. As someone who is not an avid theatre-goer (although I always greatly enjoy it when I do go) I will admit that I don’t know the names of any of the performers that appeared when I saw it. The young actor that played Matilda was enormously talented and had a singing voice that conveyed all the emotion that she brought to the part. She could portray the intellectual prowess of the part while still being a little girl who’s looking for the love of her family.
Surrounded by a cast of very loud and creative older actors all the child performers were able to stand out and show their talent, while expertly completing the demanding choreography and lyrics. However, for me, it was Miss Trunchbull that made the show. Chewing up the scenery, throwing children around (literally! It’s truly a heart stopping moment and a highlight for the kids that surrounded me) and really showing a character that was someone you can hate without feeling bad about it!
Every child in the audience was completely transfixed and I could overhear them telling their parents what would happen next or describing their favourite parts from the book. So many of them were having fun trying to find the key words from the play that are hidden about the stage (which to be honest I was doing too) and all enjoyed the cheers and boos that were necessary as our heroes overcame their challenges.
It was a performance packed with irresistible humour, endearing characters and exhilarating moments that I would highly recommend not just for the kids but for those adults that haven’t quite grown up yet. It captures all the wickedness of the original Dahl story and adds a little bit of its own, without losing the heart and of course, fun…
But that’s not all! The theatre’s location is perfect for anyone looking for a fun day or night out without the complete stress of trying to get to Piccadilly. Seven Dials is a fantastic area that buzzes with unique café’s and restaurants so after (or before) you see the show you can stop for a bite at Rossopomodoro or The Diner without too much stress. All in all, it’s a perfect theatre trip that definitely lived up to the “Brilliant” experience that the posters promised.