Okay, I promise that as of June, my blog will not just be theatre content. However, I’m in the middle of (my final! Ever!) Uni exam season and so most of my content has had to take a back seat until then. But, I was lucky enough to be invited to see Matilda the Musical by the Bristol Hippodrome*(And I got to interview some cast members and meet Briony from Bake Off, so all in all, not a bad day.) So, in true Jasmine fashion, here is a nice little review of the Matilda UK tour.
Matilda the musical is a musical based off of the book (and movie) by Roald Dahl. It centres around an incredibly clever five-year-old girl called Matilda with a passion for reading. Her parents are neglectful and do not like her, the headmistress at her new school is horrible and life isn’t looking too good. But with friends, a teacher and some magical powers at her side, she learns how to make it through.
So I’d actually seen Matilda before. Two years ago my friends and I got £5 tickets to see it in London during the summer (Learn how to do that here.) However, I didn’t remember too much about it since I’ve seen a lot of musicals since. I just remembered having goosebumps, because apparently, Matilda is one of the few musicals that gives me goosebumps. This time, I was particularly excited because my Instagram friend Michelle Hopewell is playing Mrs Phelps in the touring production! Michelle and I have been interacting online for over a year now and she always spreads such love and positivity, and I had been waiting for Matilda to come to a city near me so I could see her do her thing!
After seeing it again, I can confirm that it still gives me goosebumps. The music has this weird way of being uplifting but also making you wish you were still a child. And now that I’ve seen it a second time, this time without a ‘teen’ at the end of my age, that feeling sure did set in. If you think that you know the story from the book or the movie, you only know half of it. While the musical still includes all the iconic moments from the book and movie, it also contains a whole lot extra, so can confirm that you’ll still be intrigued.
Matilda has one of my favourite kind of casts: the kind where everyone on stage looks like they’re having the time of their life. I feel like it’s a hard one to take on tour because the cast is half children half adults, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Even the adults of the play get to reenact their childhoods, donning school uniforms and acting as the older school kids. It creates a brilliantly fun dynamic that you can’t help but smile at. My standouts include:
I know that she’s a big part, but I never really viewed Miss Honey as a standout character in the movie. However, Carly Thoms definitely made her one. She was adorably sweet and endearing without coming across as too much of a pushover (Except when she had to). Also, as someone who is definitely not a soprano, I am in awe of strong, sturdy sopranos, and she sure was one.
Whilst talking to the cast members before the production, they mentioned how demanding the role of Miss Trunchbull was. And yet, Elliot Harper was effortless. Harper never dropped character, executed every move, and gave a fleshed out (and hilarious) performance.
It’s no secret that Matilda’s dad isn’t exactly the easiest character to like. And, obviously that’s the point; he’s not meant to be a likeable character. However, Torkia sure did make him entertaining. He was the right level of villainess and the comedic timing was great. I found myself smiling whenever he was on stage.
I was first introduced to Matilda years ago because the younger class at my dance school performed ‘Naughty’ at one of our shows, and I fell in love with that song. I can’t listen to Naughty or When I Grow Up without getting Goosebumps because they’re both just so beautiful and childish. These two definitely get honourable mentions, but when I watched it this time I picked up a few extra standout songs.
I loved this one from the soundtrack before going in to see the show. The words are brilliant, it’s written and structured so well, and it makes me happy whenever I listen to it because I love word (or in this case, alphabet) play. However, seeing it in person adds a whole new level of brilliance. The choreography is all structured around a climbing frame and building blocks, and I was incredibly impressed with the rate in which the dancers kept up with it all. Go see the show, but if you can’t give this song a listen to, it’s great.
Small confession: on the rare occasion that I listen to the Matilda soundtrack, I tend to skip the Miss Honey songs. However, after seeing Carly Thoms perform Pathetic, I may have had a change of tune (literally). It was engaging, the perfect level of dramatic and did a great job of balancing the humour and the hopefulness of the song. I felt for Jenny at this moment, and I found it all really cute.
I don’t recall having any response to the Trunchbull songs the first time that I saw the Matilda. However, this time I could not stop smiling during The Smell of Rebellion. it was hilarious and goofy and packed with stunts and great choreography. It was so fun to watch and incredibly compelling and I absolutely loved it. I will definitely be listening to the song and imagining the production in my head (Yes I do this with a lot of musicals, I’m weird.)
The kids in this production are absolutely fantastic, and Revolting Children does not fail to remind you of that. This, for me, is the feel-good song of the musical, and I would have happily joined them on those desks if that wasn’t a weird thing for an audience member to do. Also, Presley Charman did an amazing job leading this number as Bruce.
As I said, I saw the West End production two years ago. Therefore, I may not be the best judge on this. However, I saw Kinky Boots three years ago and I could still tell the difference when I saw the touring production, so I’d say I’m a relatively good judge. Honestly? I don’t think there were any real big differences. So, if you’ve seen it on the West End, or you want to but aren’t in London, I recommend checking the tour dates.
This is usually where I put a top tip. However, I don’t really have one for Matilda. So instead, I thought I’d use this moment to praise the bow sequence. Obviously, bows are a moment at the end of every musical and usually, they’re the usual level of cute. However, the bows at the end of Matilda are super interesting and cute. They have choreography and scooters and it feels like an extra part of the show. They should be commended for them.
I won’t lie, it’s not one of my favourite musicals. However, that’s more down to the fact that I don’t like a Roald Dahl books (They scare me, even at my big age of 21.) However, as far as musicals go, and if the plot of Matilda is your kind of thing, I would definitely recommend Matilda! It’s a real fun-for-all production, and I definitely prefer the musical to the film. It has a lot more depth and it feels magical.
Have you ever seen Matilda the Musical? Do you want to? What are your opinions on the film? Let me know in the comments!
Lots of love,
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*DISCLAIMER* I was provided with my ticket to see this show free of charge, and the photos were provided to me for promotional purposes. However, that does not affect the integrity of my post. I always keep my reviews genuine and honest. To learn more about how I work with brands, you can do so here.
Hey, I'm Jasmine Burke. A girl in her twenties fresh out of Uni that's trying to write in any way that she can. I go under the branch of "lifestyle" but honestly, you can find pretty much anything on here.
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