In April this year, I visited London to see the musical interpretation of one of my favourite childhood stories- Roald Dahl’s Matilda. I had been longing to see it ever since it was announced. We all know the story and the film, so I wondered how this would be envisioned on stage. With the words written by Dennis Kelly and the songs by Tim Minchin, I was expecting magic. And it was delivered.
I was transported back to being a little girl again. Walking in to see a set, covered in rainbow scrabble tiles all spelling out various words and trying to spot them all, I waited for the show to start with anticipation. We open to a kids’ party, and the perfect lyric- ‘My Mummy says I’m a miracle’. The theme of indulgence and greed a running undercurrent throughout the play, as with Dahl’s book, and always a reminder of the purity and innocence of gorgeous Matilda.
On the subject of Matilda herself, the young leading actress was sublime. For a pre-teen to carry an entire musical, songs, dances, monologues galore, was unbelievable. For me, it was Evie Hone who shone and I was mesmerised by her performance. She was every inch the Matilda I had hoped for.
The content was endearing, funny, heartwarming and uplifting. The songs were catchy and always suited to the characters. The costumes were exaggerated and bright. A highlight for me was definitely the ensemble opening of Act Two with ‘When I Grow Up’. Four giant swings are used playfully along with choreography to create a visually beautiful accompaniment to the song lyrics. The scene embodies childhood- we all want to be a grown up when we’re a child. We all envy children when we’re grown up. And the preciousness of childhood is really what’s at the heart of this musical. I would urge anyone, big or little, young or old to see this show, to allow yourself to be inspired.
– Gemma Curtis