Director: Matthew Warchus
Story By: Dennis Kelly & Tim Minchin, adapted from Roald Dahl
Cast: Alisha Weir, Lashana Lynch, Emma Thompson, Stephen Graham, Andrea Riseborough, Sindhu Vee, Rei Yamauchi, Charlie Hodson-Prior, Ashton Robertson, & Andrei Shen.
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A musical adaptation of a classic where the musical component feels more so intentional than entertaining.
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Theme & Story: A
Overall “Paper” Score: A
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General Public: Interesting Enough
Matilda Fans: Interesting Enough
Musical Fans: Worth the Watch
Experience Seekers (Music & Classic Matilda Moments): Interesting Enough
Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Interesting Enough
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1. An unwanted child experiences and confronts traumas by her family and leaders at school. This is Matilda: The Musical.
The messaging was clear to me, and executed well: Navigating traumatic experiences—both at home and outside of home—is an unfortunate norm for many people and children. 👍🏾
The Acts across the board were pretty solid for me, but what I appreciated most was how the adaptation used imagination and Matilda’s love of books to showcase a form of traumatic escalation and response. 👍🏾
2. They DID that alphabet song. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
3. When Bruce got hold of the PA system! 🙌🏾😩❤️
4. You know… the Wormwoods easily fade into the background with this adaptation. 🤷🏾♂️
5. This musical has a runtime of about 107 minutes, and it’s a pretty engaging runtime—especially if you like musicals. I was immediately hooked with the opening number. 👍🏾
When it comes to pacing for thematic followthrough, I found that the musical numbers allowed the story and theme to marinate and manifest more through Matilda, and those traumatically impacted only. There was some intention. 👍🏾
6. Alright for Ms. Lashana Lynch! You better sing! 👍🏾👍🏾
7. Lissen… when Matilda was telling Mrs. Phelps the part of the story by the lake, I was with her! I was hooked! 🙌🏾
8. I appreciate the recognition for teachers between Matilda and Ms. Honey at her home. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
9. To piggyback off point #3, them children PERFORMED that Revolting Children number, you hear me! 😩🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
10. At the musical progressed, I honesty found myself enjoying Emma Thompson, especially once her musical number came through. 👍🏾
Alisha Weir was another who actually started to grow on me as the musical progressed. I started to truly appreciate her performance and interpretation of Matilda around Act Two. 👍🏾
The character Bruce was super adorable, as well as Nigel! 👍🏾
In terms of theme, the character Matilda was written so amazingly well in regards to expressing her traumas. From her specific musical numbers, to the added imaginative story she was concocting (which was a brilliant addition), to the classic moments we simply know from the original book of Matilda getting back at those who make her angry… it was really admirable. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
We do get a glimpse of this from Ms. Honey as well, coming through more around the later part of Act Two going into Act Three. 👍🏾
Now a character who I wish had a little more depth was Trunchbull, and a focus on why she was so traumatized by the mere existence of children. 🤷🏾♂️
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Overall #MatildaTheMusical gives Matilda – meets Annie – meets Carrie – meets Black Phone.
I was excited about this musical when I started seeing the trailer, and expected to see the same story just with songs… but it was subtly much more. The musical component felt thematically intentional vs simply fun paced songs to sing along. Smart.
The downfall is that not everyone enjoys a musical, or a musical component that isn’t already part of conditioned and familiarized framework like a Disney/Pixar film.
SN: No one can ever top the Wormwood performances of Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. Periodt!
Also, the subtle RANGE that Ms. Lashana Lynch has given us this year… ABSOLUTELY keep an eye on her!