Review: RSC’s Matilda. Curve Leicester and UK and Ireland tour.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda – the musical with book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin is a super duper dynamic fun and a super colourful stage treat for all the family. In this first UK and Ireland touring production by the RSC, starting at Curve Leicester, as great musical productions often do, we have a brilliantly talented cast of kids and adults. There is such energy and such verve and such dramatic, comedic talent and choreographic sharpness on one stage it defies belief. Matilda is a serious ‘Get tickets NOW!’ gig. Matilda runs at Curve until Sat 24 March then tours.

The touring production will be using four different girls playing the title role and this press night at Curve we are honoured to be witnessing a brilliantly confident performance by Nicola Turner as Matilda. In a cast made in heaven she is a total shining star. The other main children’s roles this evening are excellently played by Elliot Stiff (Bruce), Shaquahn Crowe (Tommy), Nick Seal (Nigel), Louella Asante – Owusu (Lavender), Lyla Toplass (Amanda), Maisy-May Woods-Smeeth (Hortensia) and Taya Marshall -Brewster (Alice).

The adult cast are gut bustingly funny with Craige Els on top manic form as children hating Miss Turnbull. Energetic Sebastien Torkia is cartoon like bonkers as Mr Wormwood and Rebecca Thornhill stunningly good as the bird brained dance obsessed Mrs Wormwood. Carly Thomas makes a compellingly beautiful spirited and loving Miss Honey without being over sweet. Michelle Chantelle Hopewell gives caring librarian Mrs Phelps the warmest embodiment. The rest of the adult cast join in enthusiastically to create some seamless musical theatre story-telling.

Like all of Roald Dahl’s writing it isn’t all daft fun and games and this showing of Matilda melts the heart with the more poignant side of young Matilda’s growing up and learning about her darker imaginings. Dahl’s clever writing leads us down some dark and seemingly hopeless paths but (spoiler alert!) when we come out the other end… Nah, you’ll have to go see it, won’t you?

The Matilda set design (Rob Howell set and costumes design) is pure imagination conceived on a riotous feel good day and the choreography by Peter Darling is well, sharp as a pin, and makes one old reviewer wish he was young again and be in this show! The direction by Matthew Warchus is exemplary.

Matilda has some very memorable music and songs by Tim Minchin and they are all terrifically executed by the wonderful, wonderful cast. Even as this reviewer writes this glowing review he has the urge to burst into ‘When I Grow Up!’ and dance wildly around and around, satchel swinging from his hips. But surely, that would be ‘A Little Bit Naughty’.

Extremely highly recommended for everyone young and old. Watch out for flying children!

Reviewer: Phil Lowe.

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