Reviewed by Zoey Caldwell
I am a massive fan of Roald Dahl and could not wait to see Matilda The Musical at Milton Keynes Theatre as part of the UK tour. Matilda is one of a few Dahl stories that I haven’t read and therefore had no pre-conceptions of how I would like the stage show to be.
Initial impressions of the set before the show started were that this is a show with a huge budget, it looks amazing and my son and I spent time trying to find words in the scattered letters.
From the moment the cast enter the stage it is clear that the night is going to be full of slick, choreographed and perfectly timed routines and perfectly performed numbers.
Without having read the book I am unable to comment on how close to the original story the characters are, but I do know that each and every cast member gives 110% to this show. Comedy elements shine through this essentially sad story of the bright girl born to the wrong family. The family treat Matilda despicably yet they are funny. Matilda is a feisty daughter that has drawn the short straw in parents but will not let their vileness dampen her spirit and the song Naughty demonstrates this perfectly.
Poppy Jones plays Matilda brilliantly; perfectly at home on the stage this young girl should be so incredibly proud of herself. Jones is confident to own the stage in her solo performances but blends into the chorus when required. Every child on the stage was exceptional. The musical is full of perfectly timed dance routines, fantastic songs and the children’s professionalism is unquestionable.
Mr and Mrs Wormword (Matilda’s parents) are comedy gold. Timing, chemistry and brilliance make Sebastien Torkia and Rebecca Thornhill shine on stage. Despite being completely vile to the star of the show, you cannot help but find a fondness for the hapless couple.
Personally, I absolutely loved Craige Els as Miss Trunchbull, again comedic timing was impeccable and Els showed flexibility that I was not expecting for such a large statured man. Miss Trunchbull brings laughter to the musical that essentially should not be funny, there is nothing funny about neglect and mental abuse, but the musical is hilarious in places.
Miss Honey played by Carly Thoms is as her name would suggest, very sweet. The type of teacher that we would hope our children will have educate them. A lovely softness to her singing voice Thoms entertains throughout, becoming more endearing as the show continues.
The show is nonstop entertainment and each and every cast member should be so proud of their contribution, including the Harry Enfield Kevin type character of Michael Wormwood who would not be forgiven for forgetting his lines!
The standing ovation at the end was more than deserved for everybody involved in this musical. I had tears in my eyes of pure happiness and left, smiling. I would have been more than happy to watch the entire show again straight away.
Watching Matilda provides a magical evening with the sweetest and happiest of endings. Matilda is a must see and a family favourite for a long time I predict.
Tickets cost from £17.50 to £94.50 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Matilda The Musical is at Milton Keynes Theatre from 5-30 June 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes or call the box office on 0844 8717652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3NZ