The RSC’s production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda hit the West End running following its original sold-out run in Stratford-upon-Avon. It went on to wipe the floor at the 2012 Olivier Awards and continues to play to full houses in London, as spiky and excellent as ever.
Matilda’s combination of Dahl’s supernatural schoolgirl heroics, BAFTA nominee Dennis Kelly’s script and Australian rock-comedian Tim Minchin’s whip-smart music and wordplay constitutes a triple threat you’ll be glad you surrendered to.
Matilda is a gifted child with hopeless parents. Her mum only cares about ballroom dancing and her dad insists that her beloved books will cause 'verrucas of the soul'.
With Matilda’s horrible headmistress Miss Trunchbull hell-bent on locking up as many children in 'the chokey' as she can, life at school is even grimmer.
Matilda discovers that she has a very special ability – but will it make things better or worse? And can her sole ally Miss Honey bring about a happily-ever-after in a world of pesky parents and hideous head teachers?
Like the West End’s other great Roald Dahl adaptation Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda is a show that’s designed to appeal to all ages.
Its awesome alphabetical set, eye-popping stage effects and tale of tykes trumping tyrants provide wonder and wish-fulfilment by the crateload for mischievous mites.
As is typical of Dahl’s work, a jet-black sense of humour runs through proceedings that’s most attractive to the post-teen set. In fact, if you’d been thinking about making Matilda the centrepiece of a London theatre break for your family, you might consider ditching the kids and having a grown-ups only binge on the show instead.
In the end a musical is only as good as its music, and Matilda’s is killer. Tim Minchin is an inspired lyricist with an uncanny ear for a punchline and a decidedly offbeat perspective on life, and his award-winning score steals the show.