MATILDA: Cambridge Theatre

Date seen – November 24, 2011-11-25
By Denis Kelly and Tim Minchin

Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, London WC2H 9HU
Mon – Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30
Runs 2hr 30 min One interval

TICKETS: 0844 412 4652

Review: William Russell

Limitless praise – and all mightily deserved.

Billy Elliot Can Leave the Stage

This fabulously entertaining musical based on the story by Roald Dahl about Matilda Wormwood, the little girl with the frightful family who had learned to read by the age of five and who, by concentrating, could make strange things happen, was lauded to the skies when it opened last year at Stratford. The praises were deserved. It should run for as long as there are stage schools and stage struck children to provide the cast.

The demands made on the young players are breathtaking and Cleo Demetriou, the Matilda I saw – there are four Matildas and three different child casts – rose to every one of them. Pint sized, with a splendid voice and a basilisk stare when annoyed, she held centre stage to the manner born.

Denis Kelly’s book is beautifully constructed, and while Tim Minchin’s music is rather run of the mill it meets the demands of the tale well enough and his witty lyrics are brilliant. There is a handsome set by Rob Howell, an amazing construction of alphabet bricks, blackboards and book cases, which engulfs the auditorium and Matthew Warchus’s inspired direction is flawless.

Of the adults, Bertie Carvel, as horrid hammer throwing head mistress, Miss Trunchbull is hilarious, while as Miss Honey, the downtrodden teacher who befriends Matilda when sent to Trunchbull’s ghastly school, Lauren Ward is sweetly charming.

But it is the young players who must carry the show and they do so brilliantly. Far more is asked of all of them than any Billy Elliot, especially the Matilda of the day, and they do not disappoint. Add some dazzling special effects and you have one of the best entertainments for all the family in decades. Unmissable.

Matilda: Cleo Demetriou
Lavender: Jemima Eaton
Bruce: James Beesley
Nigel: Alfie Manser
Amanda: Lily Laight
Eric: Toby Murray
Alice:Alicia Gould
Hortensia: Oonagh Cox
Tommy: Thomas Atkinson
Miss Trunchbull: Bertie Carvel
Miss Honey: Lauren Ward
Teacher/Doctor: Tim Walton
Mrs Wormwood: Josie Walker
Mr Wormwood: Paul Kaye
Michael Wormwood: Peter Howe
Mrs Phelps: Melanie La Barrie
The Escapologist: Matthew Malthous
The Acrobat: Emily Shaw
Rodolpho: Gary Watson
Cook: Verity Bentham
Sergei: Alistair Parker
Henchmen: Marc Antolin
Nick Searle
Henchwoman: Lucy Thatcher
Swings: Matthew Clark
Michael Kent
Rachel Moran
Worthington Cox

Director: Matthew Warchus
Designer: Rob Howell
Choreography: Peter Darling
Illusion: Paul Kieve

2011-11-26 11:17:08

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