Monday, 26 May 2014

Matilda the Musical: Review

I saw Matilda the Musical on Sunday for the second time. This was the first time I have ever seen a production twice, and I am already contemplating booking a ticket to see it for a third time. Is that bad?

No. No it most certainly is not. Matilda the Musical is one of the most recent productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company to transfer to the West End, having called the Cambridge Theatre home now since October 2011. It lays claim to 7 Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical, Best Director, Best Set Design and Best Actress.

Well, I say Best Actress; but in reality the award was shared between the four marvelous young girls who play the titular role of Matilda. The Matilda who I saw this time around was Cara Jenkins who had an absolutely astonishing voice. I've never really been jealous of an eight year old girl before, but if there was to be a first I am glad it was her. She was not, however, the only brilliant young cast member, as Matilda's young classmates proved exceptional from the very first song to their hilarious rendition of Revoltin' Children at the end, led by the immensely funny Bruce, played by George King.

The adult cast members featured Haley Flaherty as Miss Honey, whose astonishing voice had even improved from the first to the second performance, the excellent James Clyde as Mr Wormwood, and the undeniably hilarious Alex Gaumond, playing Miss Trunchball. Whilst these three are arguable the most important of the adult leads, I remained blown away by the incredulous voice of Tommy Sherlock, who unfortunately only had one song.

A rapturous hand also has to go to Matthew Warchus (Director), Laurie Perkins (Musical Director) and Peter Darling (Choreographer) for their fantastic work in putting on such an excellent production. This, however, would not have been possible without the superb book, written by Dennis Kelly, and lyrics by Tim Michin. I couldn't imagine anyone but Michin rhyming Miracle with Umbilical in the very first song but he does and it is splendid!

I think the thing which I love most about Matilda is that it is an immense amount of fun, not just for the audience but also for the superb company who put it on night after night. I've never stood to applaud the company on their bows but I did that afternoon. I stood and cheered and possibly even sang along to all of the songs. If you do one thing over the next few weeks, make sure it is buying a Matilda ticket. It is, I can assure you, the best investment you will make. In the words of Matilda, "Never let a little thing like little stop you."


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