‘Genius’ is a word that can be used too often and in unjustified circumstances. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda is the exception to the rule and everyone involved is a genius. The book is written by Dennis Kelly. He is a genius. The music and lyrics are written by Tim Minchin. He is a genius. The set and costume are designed by Rob Howell. He is a genius. The choreography is the doing of Peter Darling. He is a genius. The director is Matthew Warchus. He, too, is a genius. All of these geniuses come together to give the audience the most incredible feast for the eyes and ears. And that’s just the creative team.
We all love Matilda and Miss Honey, but we’ve all come together at the Cambridge Theatre to boo the Trunchbull, immortalised by Bertie Carvel (Pam Ferris who?) Matilda’s disgustingly delicious parents are played by Josie Walker and the multitalented Paul Kaye, larger than life cartoons masquerading as fully functioning parents. As well as cast of fantastically able singing, dancing and acting adults; the true stars of the show are the kids. Not the adorable kind that can be found swaying behind long forgotten heart throbs in yet another ‘Joseph and the Technical Colour Dream Coat’ touring production. These are kids that have talent exploding from every bone in their body: charm, charisma and comic timing that would make a Python jealous. I had the pleasure of seeing Miss Cleo Demetriou, a Matilda that Roald Dahl would be proud of.
This beautiful musical not only gives you boundless joy, but it will give you back that twinkle in your eye. It will make you forget the bills on your desk and work the next morning. You’ll go home craving chocolate cake and the uncontrollable desire to swing on a swing. I hate this cliché, but there is no other way of describing Dennis Kelly’s story and Tim Minchin’s lyrics, they are a roller coaster of emotions. Who can resist a musical where the cast do their curtain call on scooters?