Matilda The Musical at Birmingham Hippodrome

by Julie Wallis twitter.com/nicenic63

Matilda The Musical at Birmingham Hippodrome

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical is at Birmingham Hippodrome from now until 8th September and it is FANTASTIC. #Brumhour went along on opening night and we had a blast!

Matilda The Musical Photo by Manuel Harlan.
Matilda The Musical Photo by Manuel Harlan.

Matilda Wormwood who is a bright little girl with a passion for reading and acquiring knowledge, Her parents don’t really want her, she’s just an inconvenience. Matilda starts school and her teacher Miss Honey (Carly Thoms) encourages Matilda and shows some belief in her. The school is run by Miss Trunchbull (Craige Els) who was an Olympic standard hammer thrower but really doesn’t like children at all. She has a punishment room called Chocky and delights in torturing the children in her care. Being a Roald Dahl story it is very dark but it does end well with justice being delivered all round.

I was very aware of the story of Matilda because my daughters loved the film, but the film is a much more sanitised version of the book. That said, the stage play is absolutely amazing and far superior, it is a delight from start to finish.

For the show we saw, we had Matilda as played by Lara Cohen and she was perfect in her role. Often, I do wonder how adults remember all the dialogue, but for a child to make it appear all so effortless and to be so at ease on a stage in front of hundreds and hundreds of people, it really is something special. Lara is delightful as Matilda, bringing her character to life and charming the entire audience.

Matilda The Musical Photo by Manuel Harlan.
Matilda The Musical Photo by Manuel Harlan.

All of the cast were amazing, the children are particularly good, they sing, dance and act throughout and for such small children they are all 100% professional. Lavender, (Madeline Gilby) the little girl who is picked up by her pigtails and thrown like a hammer by Miss Trunchbull was cute and funny and obviously loves being on stage.

Craige Els as Miss Trunchbull makes for a wonderfully wicked head teacher, as well as looking perfectly perfect he also gives the audience a lot of laughs. He is also surprisingly athletic considering he is wearing a fat suit complete with pendulous boobs and a hunch. What these actors are willing to go through just to entertain us eh!

Craige Els in Matilda The Musical Photo by Manuel Harlan.
Craige Els in Matilda The Musical Photo by Manuel Harlan.

Sebastien Torkia as Mr. Wormwood is brilliant in his role as a dodgy used car salesman and with his gaudy suit, trilby, accent and decided lack of intelligence he is a nasty version of Arthur Daley, but even though we don’t like Mr. Wormwood because he is just not a likeable man, I loved him. Mr. Wormwood is funny and Sebastien has great comic timing. Rebecca Thornhill is Matilda’s disinterested mother Mrs Wormwood, more interested in dancing than her daughter. Rebecca has all the great dancing moves and a flash wardrobe to match.

The sets changes are frequent and smooth. From the library where Matilda likes to spend her time, to the school gates and to the Wormwoods bathroom seamlessly. I love the look of the sets, not quite real, not quite cartoon, but somewhere in between.

Lara Cohen (Matilda) Matilda The Musical Photo by Manuel Harlan.
Lara Cohen (Matilda) Matilda The Musical Photo by Manuel Harlan.

Finally, let’s not forget that this Matilda the Musical, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. The songwriting is absolutely spot on, with just enough humour coming through on songs like Miracle which is the opening song that all the children sing, and it tells us that “my Mummy says I’m a miracle” or “my Daddy says I’m his special little guy” and ends with Matilda singing to us that her “Mummy says I’m a lousy little worm”
Then there is Naughty, which is where Matilda tells us that “sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty” as she is tampering with hair products in the bathroom, which eventually leads to her dad having green hair.

Bound to be a huge success Matilda the Musical is a wonderful story that has made a terrific stage show and what a great introduction to the joy of theatre this is going to be for so many families.

Matilda The Musical Photo by Manuel Harlan.
Matilda The Musical Photo by Manuel Harlan.

Matilda The Musical is at Birmingham Hippodrome throughout the summer until 8th September. Book tickets here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/matildathemusical


This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to see Matilda The Musical by Birmingham Hippodrome.

Julie blogs as RedandGoldWeb here: redandgoldweb.wordpress.com

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