London Theatre Review: Matilda a "great night out" and "must-see"

Wow, what a night! So I’ve been busting to see Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre ever since it was announced almost a decade ago and just couldn’t find a child to go with. Don’t wait as long as I did this is such a great story that's delivered so well and translates beautifully to adult audiences.

London Theatre Review: Matilda a "great night out" and "must-see"
Matilda is based on the hit 1988 children's book of the same name by Roald Dahl that spawned the 1996 film starring Danny DeVito and Mara Wilson.

West End Matilda musical review 2020

I was privileged to go to the first night of a refresh of some of the cast and you wouldn’t have noticed. In fact, I was so impressed by the energy, and the timing I began to wonder at the amount of effort and rehearsal it would take to get to this standard. Well done all amazing.

This is such a professional production – best I have seen for a while – and completely enthralling throughout. The story holds together well and the characters are completely believable, adorable, scary, sweet and feisty in equal measures. I loved the relationship between Miss Honey and Matilda, and the clear bonding you could see between the children in the cast, young and old. They looked like they were having a ball, and so were the audience.

What can I say about the choreography? It was so clever and I have no idea how the children managed to perform some extremely tricky scenes so brilliantly, not missing a beat. The shapes made on stage as each child did their bit, created incredible tableaus and from the 2nd row in the circle, the images were just fab. The energy during the dance numbers was infectious and people were clapping along and exploding into whoops and cheers as they finished. It was that good. 

The stunts were brilliant – just enough danger to be impressive without being scary (considering there were children involved) and executed so well that the audience was in awe and charmed at the same time. I’m still not sure how some of them were done so I intend to see it again, and I’ll be looking more carefully next time.

Loved the sets. These types of shows can sometimes be over-engineered with a highly technical set. I can see this was fairly technical but it seemed to mainly rely on the cast working with the beautiful sets to create a stunning visual effect. 

I fully believed in each of the characters, adults and children, and laughed my socks off as the story played out and the children had their small wins. I was suitably scared by Miss Trunchball and just wanted to hug Miss Honey – all as it should be.

There wasn’t a weak link. I particularly loved Miss Honey’s solos – powerful yet with a beautifully soft tone. Lovely. Little Matilda was just brilliant. People around me were oohing and ahhing as she encountered her happy and sad moments in the show, and were just willing her to succeed.

I usually make a few discrete notes when I am reviewing a show but gave up after the first scene as I was just so absorbed in it, and didn’t want to miss anything, so this is coming straight from the heart.

Good news regarding the bar – The Cambridge has very reasonable bar prices, especially considering its central London location. 

Officially verified Matilda Cambridge Theatre tickets on sale from only £24 and up!

Matilda The Musical is currently booking at London's Cambridge Theatre until 20 December 2020 in an open-ended run. Tickets are available now beginning at just £24!

You might also enjoy reading: "
Matthew Warchus to direct new Matilda movie now in the works."

Carole Lovstrom

Carole has been interested in theatre and circus for many years. She now blogs for View From the Cheap Seats and London Theatre Direct when she gets the chance.

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