Reviewed by Rachel Sworder
On arrival to the Bristol Hippodrome, you could hear all the very excited children and parents. Once we entered the theatre the first thing that struck us was the wonderful stage with all the letters and Matilda spelt out, as we got to our seats the tension in the air began to build until we were all taken back by the opening act!!
It was good how they took us right back to Matilda being born and gave those who may not have seen the films an insight and then brought us straight back up to date again.
The school children were fantastic the way they worked as a team and complete synchronised movements and in such an effortless way. The entire cast is splendid and the dynamite decision to cast adults to play some of the schoolchildren gives the perfect mix of physicality and power on both the music and dance. Revolting Children, School Song and When I Grow Up all raised the roof. As always, Bruce Bogtrotter has a great stab at stealing his scenes but all the little ones are excellent. The grown-ups in school shorts and caps bring such unfettered exhilaration to the group scenes that we all wish we could jump on a scooter or giant swing and play all day. When they perform and swing above the audience it is just done with such perfection and on one scene the other children and telling the new children to the school how bad it is by using every letter in the alphabet by slotting in the letter block of different sizes and colours one by one into a metal gate and the child this side has to touch it with any part of their body so synchronised with each other and no hesitation at all. I would say these are very much the core of the production.
Matilda (Olivia Juno Cleverley) herself being the main character and of such a young age herself to be able to express the way she does and to hold the audience with anticipation for her every word is totally mesmerising then after two half hours to be able to roll off 2 minutes of pure Russian at the Mafia after her parents is just mind blowing. The only let down was Matilda not having her red ribbon and blue dress that we have always known her in.
Miss Honey (Carly Thoms) played her character brilliant she cared and posed and acted awkwardly pathetically like her.
Miss Truchball (Elliot Harper) OMG!!!! He was awesome, he pulled out all the stops and with the added adult bits of humour he carried out her role perfectly on form being the bossy scary bully of a head teacher she is and putting them in the chokey and making poor Bruce (Charlie Garton) eat all the chocolate cake! The highlight was when he grabs Alice (Georgia Mae) by her pigtails and flies her by them through the air!… The crowds cheer in the theatre, such a tight cast to be able to carry out such an amazing stunt.
Equally fun, (Rebecca Thornhill and Sebastian Torkia) deliciously repugnant as the Wormwood parents. It is a mark of the material’s intelligence and strength that their roles raise laughs, even as their actions are unforgivable. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed that Michael Wormwood (Matthew Caputo) never had any interaction with Matilda, his sister.
There is no weak link in the cast. Nor indeed, in any aspect of the production. The stage design is spectacular and innovative, creating atmosphere before a note is struck. Most of all, Minchin’s lyrics and melodies are glorious. Cutting and merciless one moment, they become tender and exquisite the next. I have to say that I actually have no words, it was flawless, breathtaking, mesmerising, my daughter of 6 said it was The Best!!!
I would very highly highly recommend Matilda to anyone as it’s definitely a Must See show!!!! Certainly one to remember too
Tickets cost from £15 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
Matilda the Musical is at the Bristol Hippodrome from 7 May to 8 June 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/bristol or call the box office on 0844 871 3012.
Bristol Hippodrome, St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol, BS1 4UZ | 0844 871 3012