Touring – reviewed at the Milton Keynes Theatre
Guest reviewer: Hayley Makepeace
An amazing show from the RSC, it’s obvious why it is doing so fabulously well. The children are the most talented I have ever seen in a production. They really steal the show. This is a musical made for children and adults alike whilst still very much retaining its roots as a children’s story. Everything about it keeps you in a child’s world… the ‘oversized’ set… huge building blocks featuring the alphabet, large swings that send the children soaring in the air across the stage, huge school gates that can be scaled. It all transports the audience to a five-year-old child’s perspective.
Then there are the elaborate and colourful costumes that extenuate the Wormwood characters whilst Matilda is dressed plain and ‘normally’ by contrast. The set creates an imaginative child’s world with wonder, fantasy and excitement yet it is tinged with darkness mirroring the sad existence endured by Matilda.
This is a show that pulls at the heartstrings. Poppy Jones as Matilda showed us a very intelligent yet solemn, grown up but mischievous girl. A tiny girl, she maintained a stage presence that left you in no doubt who the show was about. An amazingly strong and clear voice when she was talking, a beautiful sweet singing voice that held an air of sadness but wasn’t too grown up and suited her young character.
Trunchbull (Craige Els) is a giant towering over everyone and everything, reflecting the scary darker side of life. The character is brilliantly played by the actor. Very strong and completely stands out as a character on its own against the world. I loved it when Truchbull swung Amanda (Maddie Gilbey) around by the pigtails. The scene had the effect of Amanda being swung into the audience, but then cleverly the girl fell from the ceiling onto the floor.
There were also excellent performances from Carly Thoms as Miss Honey, Matilda’s timid yet determined teacher and Rebecca Thornhill and Sebastian Torkia as Matilda’s parents, the brash Wormwoods.
A captivating and energetic production that holds your attention entirely, throughout. In fact I’ve never been at a show that seemingly passes so quickly. I loved the score and may have to purchase a CD!
Matilda the Musical stays at Milton Keynes Theatre until 30 June 2018.
Photo Credits: Matilda the Musical Website