Matilda The Musical review: a spectacular rendition of a much loved children’s story

PUBLISHED: 10:06 19 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:43 22 July 2019

Matilda The Musical. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Matilda The Musical. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Manuel Harlan

Inspired by one of Roald Dahl’s most beloved books, Matilda the Musical by the Royal Shakespeare Company has arrived in Norwich to start its five-week run at the Theatre Royal.

Matilda The Musical. Photo: Manuel HarlanMatilda The Musical. Photo: Manuel Harlan

The uplifting tale is about a gifted and brave girl, Matilda Wormwood, who loves books but is born to parents who don't understand her. Matilda is sent to a school run by the terrifying and bullying Miss Trunchbull, where she meets the timid but caring teacher Miss Honey.

Throughout the five-week run, Matilda will be played by a rotating cast of four children, but last night we got to see the fantastic Sophie Woolhouse shine. And shine she did, executing the role with absolute precision and the professionalism expected from someone far beyond her years.

Woolhouse's ability to remember so many lines, lyrics, dance moves and stage directions was just mind blowing - and that goes for the rest of the cast too. The performance that all of the cast members delivered, both the children and the adults, fell nothing short of perfection. They all played their part in putting on a show that was packed to the brim with passion, energy, emotion and the talent that you would expect when watching a show on the Westend.

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Matilda at times can be a dark and scary story and the character of Miss Trunchbull was portrayed expertly by actor Elliot Harper. He serves up the perfect balance between being terrifying and utterly hilarious and really brings the show to life. Until arriving and receiving the programme, I hadn't realised that this role would be played by a man but it couldn't have been any more perfect. I cannot for a second imagine that there would have been anyone better suited to pull it off.

Every single second of the two and a bit hour show had evidentially been thoroughly considered. The cast and production company nailed everything from the staging and incredibly intricate set design to the songs, dialogue and precise direction of each individual on stage. There wasn't a moment when anyone was out of place and every single person gave 110pc effort to the performance - which is clearly why the stage show has seen such success so far.

Time flew by and the show ended, before we knew it, with a standing ovation from the audience. This reception was more than deserved for what was a spectacular rendition of a much loved children's story.

- Matilda The Musical runs at Norwich Theatre Royal until August 17

- Limited tickets are available for £10 - £56 from Norwich Theatre Royal's website

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