Mayflower Theatre Southampton – until 6th July 2019
Reviewed by Leanne Caplis
The multiple award-winning musical adaption of the much-loved story by Roald Dahl sees Matilda embarking on its UK Tour following its success in the West End and audiences are in for a real treat.
Matilda (Freya Scott) is an unwelcome child to her air-head mother and con-man father Mr and Mrs Wormwood (Rebecca Thornhill & Sebastien Torkia). Mr Wormwood cannot accept Matilda as a girl and refers to her throughout as ‘boy’ and makes it clear she would be better watching more ‘telly’ than having her head in her books. Mrs Wormwood wants to dance her days away rather than accepting she has a very special daughter who can move things with her eyes and speak Russian fluently.
On turning 5 Matilda is sent off to school where the feared Miss Trunchbull (Elliot Harper) rules her school with an iron fist. Miss Trunchbull is a big bully who uses the chokey as punishment for the smallest things. In stark contrast Matilda’s lovely teacher Miss Honey (Carly Thoms) recognises something special in Matilda and soon a special relationship develops.
From start to finish this show is a mass of singing, dancing, comedy, cheesiness and magic. The staging, props and lights of this show are mind-blowing. It is clear to see this has been a West-End show and no expense has been spared. Watch as the stage transforms from a lounge to a classroom to a physical education hall and the home of Miss Honey. There are some spectacular moments that stood out for me and these are the School Song where the alphabet wall is used and When I Grow Up where the cast enter the stage from a slide to swing above the audience on their swings.
There is a perfect amount of adult humour in this production to make it a perfect show for adults and children alike. There was a real buzz from the younger members of the audience. Their whispers asking how Trunchbull was able to spin one of the children around by her pigtails and how they did the magic with the chalk was infectious to listen to.
The whole cast of this production are remarkable and every single one deserves a special mention. The children make this show the success it is. Watching them dance, sing and act their way through scene after scene reveals just how talented they all are. They do not miss a line or a dance step and their facial expressions really bring the story to life.
Special mentions go to Freya Scott who plays Matilda and Elliot Harper as Trunchbull. Freya is one to watch for the future, I will be following her progression and I can’t wait to see her in many leading roles. There was silence from the audience as Freya sang Quiet; her voice is beautiful and looking round I could see tears in the eyes of many. Elliot Harper plays Trunchbull perfectly. Her hobbyhorse scene during physical education left me in stitches and she really brought back memories of the most feared teachers from my childhood.
This show is a must see for all ages. With dance scenes that would not be out of place on Strictly, magic which will leave you wondering how they did it and not forgetting the amazing singing it’s just pure brilliance. If you don’t book you deserve some time in the Chokey