We can all learn a thing or two from Matilda. The little child genius who uses her gifted talents to stand up to tyranny is an aspiring character for those who think that the whole world is against them.
Based on the book of the same name by English author Roald Dahl, the childhood classic has just turned 30 and still manages to remain as one of the favourites in the kids section. The delightfully dark story follows Matilda Wormwood, a little girl who had the misfortune of having parents who hate her just for being born as a girl and having a terribly mean headmistress at school who tries to bully her into being submissive. Matilda then pulls pranks and even uses her supernatural gifts to teach them a lesson. And the magic isn’t lost as the book comes to life on stage.
Fans of the book will be slightly confused as the musical slightly changes the plot. But key scenes from the book like when Miss Trunchbull swings Amanda off into the sky using her pigtails and her making Bruce Bogtrotter stuff down an entire cake is enticingly hilarious. As for how the scenes go down, you’ll have to watch to find out!
The musical shines a lot of light in times of darkness, and it just goes to show that there is always hope even if the future seems bleak. All it takes is someone to believe in you. The children brings out the joy and fun, especially when they soar out on swings into the audience during “When I Grow Up”. Even in the face of tyranny, they remain high in spirits as they support each other and their youthful vigour is a joy to watch on stage.
While the (revolting children) more than hold up their own in cheeky numbers and standing up to their strict headmaster, it’s the adults in the musical that really shine.
Claire Taylor and Stephen Jubber went all out in their crudely idiotic and bimbotic roles as Mrs and Mr Wormwood who only care about getting rich and looking good. They believe that the telly is the best source of knowledge and entertainment, and laugh at Matilda’s stories. The irony isn’t lost on the audience as they two actors toe the line between exaggeration and conviction in themselves.
And who can forget the terrifyingly glamorous Miss Agatha Trunchbull, played by Ryan de Villers who thinks that “all children are maggots”. It’s kind of hard to hate the acrobatic, sassy headmistress as he executes all his lines with comedic timing and on-point pantomime, sparking peals of laughter. Yepp, that’s right, Trunchull is played by a man, but we won’t have it any other way!