Original Story: Roald Dahl
Book: Dennis Kelly
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Director: Matthew Marchus
While it still remains in London, the Royal Shakespeare Company launches a UK Tour of their smash hit musical Matilda in Leicester and it’s revoltingly good.
Based on the book by Ronald Dahl, Matilda (a role which four young actresses alternate in) grows up unwanted and unloved by her grotty parents who Rebecca Thornhill and Sebastien Torkia play. Her admiration for reading and creating stories help her escape, while some magical powers also help her to take control of her own story and be the hero of the day.
Standing in Matilda’s way is Ms Trunchble who Craige Els plays. Els storms across the stage with robotic like movements. His scowl is enough to make adults cower in fear particularly as he flings Amanda Flipp across the stage. The illusion by Paul Kieve makes it horrifyingly real.
Tours of musicals tend to be known for their slimmed down production elements but it seems no expense has been spared with the elegant and detailed set by Rob Howell. If you have a spare few minutes in the interval see how many words you can spot as building blocks full of letters surround the stage.
Matilda was Tim Minchin’s first musical. His eloquent lyrics and song help the show to flow while also bring out the dark themes particularly the story of the anthropologist and the acrobat which is haunting.
With a great score and well-drilled choreography by Peter Darling, framing a hard-hitting and punchy adaptation, Matilda is an enjoyable performance that emphasises the need to get up and do something if life gets you down. While not all stories have a happy ending it’s a delight that this one does.