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26th September 2018

Review: the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda

Alana Cook enjoys the Royal Shakespeare Company’s song-filled touring production of ‘Matilda’
Review: the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda
Photo: Phil Tragen Photography

The RSC’s touring production of the musical ‘Matilda’ (based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name), is a story about a brilliantly clever little girl with the ability to move things with her mind. The curtain opened to reveal a remarkable set of hundreds of spelling blocks providing a visual delight from the very beginning.

Behind any great musical is, of course, a great composer and Tim Minchin’s satirical genius proves no exception to this. In songs such as the opener Miracle, Minchin manages to write lyrics aimed at children but underlined with adult humour. Just as his songs can make us laugh, beautiful wistful numbers such as When I Grow Up remind us that even as adults we can often still look at the world and feel the same awe and uncertainty as we did when we were children.

When I Grow Up proved to be one of the highlights of the musical numbers with its simple but clever choreography using swings, representing and evoking the free-spirited nature of children and of Roald Dahl’s original Matilda. Besides, what child didn’t love to play on swings?

A fantastic cast brought the musical to life. Matilda’s parents, played by Rebecca Thornhill and Sebastian Torkia, brought great pantomimic comedy to their roles. Carly Thom’s beautiful voice gave an extra sweetness to Miss Honey. Craige Els was also a standout as the formidable Miss Trunchbull; it was hard to hate the character when the actor was making you laugh so much.

However, the real star(s) of the show were the children. As a group, they gave the performance its raw energy and despite the show being a little over two hours, their pace never dropped. Dylan Hughes and Louella Asante-Osuwu were fantastic as the characters Bruce and Lavender respectfully and Sophia Ally, did an impressive, absolutely adorable job playing the title role of Matilda. All of the young actors proved, just as Matilda did, that you should never underestimate the power of children.

Overall, ‘Matilda’ is a delightful, funny and heart-warming performance of a spectacular musical that sings to our inner child and shows that “sometimes, you have to be a little bit naughty”.

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