Theatre review: Matilda the Musical
Based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s tale, Matilda debuted as a musical at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Stratford-upon-Avon theatre in 2010, quickly transferring to Covent Garden’s Cambridge Theatre one year later. The reviews were ecstatic in 2011, so we’ve just been along to see if Matilda the Musical is still worth your money.
When Matilda opened in London it caused a West End sensation. Since then, mega-hits Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Hamilton have stolen the limelight, but that means it’s now easier to get Matilda tickets. That’s great news, because it’s still a wonderful night out – particularly for children and young adults.
If you’re not familiar, Matilda is about a brave, book-loving little girl from a miserable family, who just happens to be a genius. The story follows her struggle at school and home, as she fights the terrible grown-ups in her life. The cast is mainly children (supported by mostly brilliant adult performers), which means that while the acting and dancing is not always West End-polished, the young cast fizzes with energy.
The songs, sets and costumes are what makes Matilda such a strong evening of entertainment. The music and lyrics were written by the British comedian Tim Minchin, whose talent is evident during a song that follows the letters of the alphabet – it was our highlight, especially as it’s accompanied by the cast dancing and climbing over the school gates (above).
Another highlight is the thrill of watching the cast swinging across the stage and into the front rows of the audience (below), while Matilda’s evil headmistress Miss Trunchbull is hilarious to watch whenever she’s on stage. It might be a little too long for young children who aren’t used to the theatre, but from September 2018, weekday evening performances start from an earlier time of 7pm.
If you’re trying to encourage your own children to read more, Matilda the Musical will show them the magic of a good book – and the extraordinary places it can take you.
Matilda the Musical is at the Cambridge Theatre on Earlham St, WC2H 9HU, Tue-Sun. Find theatre ticket deals with us, or call the Cambridge Theatre Box Office on 020 7087 7745.
Not sure this show is for you? Read our theatre review of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie here.