Brett Herriot Review

Matilda The Musical, Edinburgh Playhouse Review:

Matilda The Musical,

***** 5 Stars

A Heart-warming Journey into the magical imagination of childhood.

Since opening in London’s west end in 2011 at the Cambridge Theatre, Matilda the Musical has sprinkled its charm and magic to generations of theatre fans, and now the show is on the road and makes its Scottish Debut at the Edinburgh Playhouse and it truly delivers a heart-warming journey into the magical imagination of Childhood.

Matilda the Musical is based on the 1988 children’s novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was adapted by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. The musical tells the story of Matilda, a precocious 5-year-old girl with the gift of telekinesis, who loves reading, overcoming obstacles caused by her family and school, and helps her teacher to reclaim her life for the clutches of the selfishly evil Miss Trunchbull.

Director Matthew Warchus has imbued the show with the style of the book it comes from, seemingly lifting “Blakes” cartoon characters from the page and breathing life into them and that instantly ensures this is a winning production.

Leading a stellar cast, Scarlett Cecil (there are 4 child actors performing as Matilda and all the lead child parts) delivers a big voiced and finally created take on the character that always has the audience on side. There is a clear warm relationship with Carly Thom “Miss Honey” that becomes the lynch pin of the show, and the resolution to their story truly fill the heart with joy, it’s a wonderful thing to watch unfold.

Sebastien Torkia and Rebecca Thornhill indulge completely in comedic over acting as Mr and Mrs Wormwood. However, its exactly what the characters need, larger than life and all the better for it. Elliott Harper is in a class of his own, his take on “Miss Trunchbull” is nothing short of masterful, completely blurring the lines that it’s a man playing the rotten to the core headmistress whose forgotten dreams are hidden by the cruelness she shows to the world.

Warchus along with Choreography from Peter Darling, Set and Costume Design by Rob Howell and Lighting Design by Hugh Vanstone, have managed to harness the aesthetic flare of the west end production even if the staging feels heavily brought in and small on the expanses of the Playhouse stage. This is a minor quibble especially as the magical illusions of Paul Kieve make it into the touring production full formed and add a real sense of childlike wonderment.

Matilda is packed with catchy tunes thanks to Tim Minchin’s clever and heart felt score and lyrics highlights include “When I Grow Up” performed by the whole company it’s a testament to youth and looking to the future unchained by the stresses and strains of adulthood. “Quiet” performed by Matilda is breath taking for its depth of emotion and ability to carry almost and entire story in one song. Both these songs and other combine to the grand finale of Revolting Children performed by the company as they take their bows in a very clever “Scooter” sequence.

Matilda has all the magical ingredients  for a simply stunning evening of Musical Theatre, Faultless performances, Stunning Staging and settings and music that leaves you humming as you exit the theatre. You would be a crazy maggot to miss out on seeing Matilda at the Playhouse.

Roald Dahl greatest gift was his ability to understand the imagination and how potent it can be in childhood, anything is possible if you dare to dream big enough, for Matilda that rings ever true, so hurry along and Dream the dreams of your childhood once more on this the most thrilling and captivating of musicals.

The Royal Shakespeare Company Presents “Matilda, The Musical” The Edinburgh Playhouse, Runs until Saturday 27th April. For tickets go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/matilda/edinburgh-playhouse/

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