Monday, 17 December 2012

Matilda the Musical: Theatre Review


Matilda the Musical was originally staged in Stratford-Upon-Avon by the RSC at the Courtyard theatre, the production recently moved to the Cambridge Theatre in London (replacing Chicago). The production seems to be based more on Roald Dahl's original book than the film which translates onto the stage perfectly. The story follows a young girl (Matilda) who loves books and tells how she defeats the horrible people in her life, a story which all children and adults love with a heart-warming message.
It would be one of the last things I would ever think of to put on stage, but with Tim Minchin's Music and Lyrics and Dennis Kelly's book it works fantastically. The music is very good, but in all fairness it's not a score that's going to be remembered forever, you'll be humming the songs after the show but unless you buy the soundtrack then you'll forget the tunes pretty quickly. None the less, Tim Minchin has done a brilliant job with this musical and his writting is very intellegent.
The visual side of the show was absolutely stunning, it must be the best design I have ever seen on a West End stage. The set poured off the stage, surrounding the proscenium arch in boxes which looked fantastic and a spectacular lighting design to complement this. The continuous theme of books throughout was also a nice touch; it gave the production that edge which left you spell bound. The production has really been modernised and that's exactly what it needed, I did think they might try and set the show in a specific date but it's really been brought into the 21stCentury and has brought a new life into the much loved, classic book.
Peter Darling's choreography and Matthew Warchus's direction worked well with the different aspects of the production also.
Bertie Carvel gave a good performance as Miss Trunchball, I was always petrified of her as a young boy however I wasn't as scared of his interpretation and although it was good I didn't fear the character in anyway. Paul Kaye and Josie Walker gave brilliant performances as the Wormwoods; both had brilliant comic timing and also had a slight terrifying side which I thought really contributed to Matilda's personal journey.
Lauren Ward gave a great performance as Miss Honey, a lovable, sweet and innocent portrayal who you really did just want to give a hug to! The rest of the cast were brilliant too, the ensemble numbers were amazing and I really wanted to see more from them! I usually hate children in shows, children in general annoy me so to have them running about on stage isn't something that I love but the children in this show were fantastic. They were at such a professional level I was amazed; Sophia Kiely gave a astonishing performance as Matilda. The fact she has the most lines to remember out of the whole cast and still delivered an amazing performance was incredible.
This show was like nothing I've ever seen before, by far the best show on at the moment in the West End. I hope that this show will continue to play for the next few years at least because it really deserves a good run! The show will entertain everyone, whether your 6 or 60, you'll love this show. If you only see one show this year, let it be this one.

Rating: *****

Matilda is running at the Cambridge Theatre



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