Have you ever wondered what Roald Dahl’s Matilda would be like on stage? I have. Since reading the book Matilda as a child, endlessly fascinated by the illustrations of Sir Quentin Blake, I have kept the magical world of Matilda Wormwood and her mischiefs in my head. I loved her character – she is unusually clever on one hand and cheeky on the other. She is bold and nonconformist, which makes her a truly extraordinary little girl. I have always identified with her resistance and stubbornness.
Her dealings with her ignorant and spiteful parents and the mean headmistress Miss Trunchbull create the ultimate grotesque atmosphere. Miss Honey, representing Matilda’s closest associate and ultimately her carer, provides her with the comfort and understanding which has given me comfort too. Realising that there is always somebody in the world who understands and deeply cares is a crucial point in every child’s life.
The book, originally published in 1988, has been a huge success. It was made into film in 1996, starring Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman as Matilda’s parents and Mara Wilson in the leading role of Matilda. Also, a two-part adaptation has been made for BBC Radio 4. Finally, in 2009, the Royal Shakespeare Company has brought this fantastic story on stage under the title Matilda the Musical. Engaging Tim Minchin as the composer and Matthew Warchus as the director, the musical was an immediate hit. It premiered on November 24th at the West End’s Cambridge Theatre.
The show won seven 2012 Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical and Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical. This is the most Olivier Awards ever won by a single show. The production has also been running on Broadway since April 2013 and has received widespread critical acclaim. Seen by hundreds of people every week, Matilda has secured its place among the very best West End productions.
[by Petra, 19th April 2013]