Reviewed by Izzy Parriss
It's the Press Night of Matilda The Musical, and both children and their grown-up counterparts alike rustle sweet wrappers as they settle down excitedly in anticipation for the start of the show.
The story follows Matilda Wormwood: a little girl who is bullied by her grotesque, corrupt and television-binging parents whilst simultaneously enduring a school run by the intimidating and abusive Miss Trunchbull. Matilda is a genius and without an appropriate outlet for her intelligence, finds herself able to move things with her eyes. Matilda’s tale is intertwined with that of an acrobat and his wife which leads to many a plot twist in the second act.
Whilst the show is based on Roald Dahl’s children’s book, it is certainly enjoyable for adults as well, with the opening number, 'Miracle', immediately engages the humour of all generations in the audience. The child actors are exceptionally talented and steal the show; at many points outshining the adult actors. Scarlett Cecil as Matilda, despite being tiny in comparison to the huge theatre, commands full attention of the audience in her first solo, 'Naughty', and continues to shine throughout the rest of the production. The other children are also very impressive: especially Toby Hales as Eric and Lily Van Veer as Lavender.
Amongst the grown-ups, Elliot Harper plays frightening-but-witty Miss Trunchbull. The characterisation of Miss Trunchbull is somewhat reminiscent of a pantomime style if more sophisticated, affording the audience both laughter and grimace. Rebecca Thornhill and Sebastian Torkia successfully capture the essence of Matilda’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, who are very much caricatures in their dominating personas.
All of the children are exceptionally talented singers and dancers. They stand out in every number, but special mention must go to the song 'Revolting Children', in which their talents are truly showcased. Peter Darling's outstanding choreography makes the show what it is, and with the visual talents of Hugh Vanstone in his lighting design, Matilda The Musical is a delight.
Matilda The Musical runs at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday 27th April 2019.