A West End musical always holds the potential to be a cheesy few hours of hammed-up show tunes and jazz hands. However, what awaits theatre-goers and Roald Dahl fans at the Cambridge Theatre is the most delicious concoction of alphabet soup.
There is sweet and sour in equal measure, with the angelic Miss Honey and the bullish, thuggish beast that is Miss Trunchball. The large bosom, statueqsiue build and devlishly funny delivery from Alex Gaumond has the audience in stitches. The Olympic sportswoman proved hilarious as she marches her minions to exhaustion through an acrobatic routine in the gymnasium.
The person who, quite rightly, stole the show was Matilda. She sang every word with clarity and innocent wit and to top it all off proved to be a dab hand at Russian.
The moment that proved to be the tipping point from 4 stars to 5 was the subplot of the acrobat and the escapologist. Some musicals try to add a bit of flavour to a well-known story by introducing new characters. Composer Tim Minchin and writer Dennis Kelly struck gold with this narrative as it built on the empathy and admiration for the courageous little girl. It also neatly tied in with her discovery of Miss Honey's secret past (the sub-plot doubles as a retelling of her childhood).
The magic was captured excellently on stage with the newt, the floating chalk and the beautifully assembled stage that magically created a school, a playground and a party out of alphabetical building blocks.
Miss Trunchball the Olympian
A recent Huffington Post review on the Broadway version suggested that this play is not for the very young and parents should make a judgement call depending on their child's 'sensitivity'. Matilda wouldn't stand for that nonsense. It seems us Brits are made of sterner stuff.
Where: Cambridge Theatre
Price: Tickets were supplied by Seatwave, who are an online marketplace where fans can buy and sell tickets to theatre, sports and music events, such as Bruno Mars tickets
More info: uk.matildathemusical.com