Matilda the Musical

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
Critics' choice
11 Love It
1/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

2/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

3/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

4/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

5/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

6/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

7/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

8/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

9/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

10/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

11/11
© Manuel Harlan

'Matilda'

Cambridge Theatre, Covent Garden Until Sunday May 29 2016
Special offers
Buy tickets

Accepts Time Out Card

10% off our normal price

Your discount will be provided on checkout. Booking essential. Click here to book

Offer expires 20 December 2015. This offer can be redeemed on Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun between 2pm and 10pm.Don’t have a Time Out Card? Get yours here.

'My mummy says I'm a miracle,' lisps a pampered mini-me at a purgatorial kiddies' birthday party at the outset of this delicious, treacly-dark family show. The obnoxious ma and pa of its titular, gifted, pint-sized heroine are not, of course, quite so doting. But 'Matilda' must be making its creators, playwright Dennis Kelly and comedian-songsmith Tim Minchin, a very pair of proud parents.

Opening to rave reviews in Stratford-upon Avon before transferring to the West End in 2011 and snatching up Olivier Awards with all the alacrity of a sticky-fingered child in a sweetshop, Matthew Warchus's RSC production remains a treat. With hindsight, Kelly and Minchin's musical, born of the 1988 novel by that master of the splendidly grotesque Roald Dahl, is a little too long and, dramatically, a tad wayward. But like curly-haired little girl in the famous nursery rhyme, when it is good, it is very, very good. And it's even better when it's horrid.

The past few months have seen some cast changes, including, alas, the departure of Bertie Carvel's tremendous Miss Trunchbull, headmistress of the dread Crunchem Hall School, former Olympic hammer-thrower and a gorgon of monumental nastiness, complete with scarily Thatcher-esque tics of purse-lipped gentility and faux concern.

David Leonard doesn't quite match the squirm-inducing, hair-raising detail of Carvel in the role, but his more butch, granite-faced version is fantastically horrible nonetheless. And if Paul Kaye as Matilda's loathsome father Mr Wormwood was so greasily repellant that just watching him made you feel you needed a scalding shower, Steve Furst has more of a wide-boyish, casual cruelty; Annette McLaughlin as his Latin-dancing wife is a leggy wonder of ripe raspiness, spite and vanity. And Haley Flaherty is winning as the kindly Miss Honey, neatly side-stepping priggishness and conveying the tremulous courage of the much-kicked underdog, with a singing voice of sweetness and power.

As for the children, they are irresistible, stomping and skipping through Peter Darling's angular choreography, thrilling young audiences and push-pulling grown-ups from tears to gasps to laughter with such relentless energy that it leaves you breathless, exhilarated and marvelling at the many ways in which Minchin, Kelly and Dahl demonstrate that growing up is a lifelong endeavour. For kids, yes, but also for the children that we all remain at heart, this is wise, wicked, glorious fun.

Venue name: Cambridge Theatre
Contact:
Address: Earlham St
London
WC2H 9HU
Transport: Tube: Covent Gdn
Price: £24-£85. Runs 2hrs 40mins

Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:51
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|64
1 person listening
Alex W
Tastemaker

This has to be one of the most insightful, refreshing productions on the West End at the moment..written by an Australian no less. This is the Pixar/Disney of musicals at the moment. There is a layer of complexity and maturity that will have adults nodding (and crying) in agreement and children laughing at the antics and crossdressing. The children are often oblivious to how poignant this production is in recalling the joy of childhood and our view of adulthood from this time in our lives. Melodically you'll come out singing most of the themes, and love the staging. Take the kids, but don't let them see you love it more than them!

Luisa G
Tastemaker

Great show, with really amazingly talented kids! I also liked the fact they used adults as kids at some points. I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to go to the theatre!

Laura B
Tastemaker

A fabulous show and 5* night out. The songs are enjoyable, the set and staging are creative, clever and captivating. All actors are just superb. I watched the entire show with a massive grin on my face, it is immensely amusing and just wonderful. I can only echo all the other positive reviews. And I will also be going to see it again!

Eleanor F
Staff Writer

This is a brilliant, brilliant show. As other Users say, I also found myself planning the next trip to see it on the way out of the theatre. It has a dark, clever quality missing from most musicals, and yet at the same time is hugely uplifting, spirited and energetic. The staging is among the best I have seen, and the performers, especially the children, are outrageously powerful. Go and see.

Rosie T
Staff Writer

This is by far the best musical I have seen. The music/score is brilliant, the performers are brilliant, the staging is brilliant, it's all brilliant! I have been once and am due to go again next month- cannot wait! My friend had seen this 8 times! Guy's that's how good this show really is :) 

Tatiana N
Staff Writer

This is one amazing musical. I had no expectations about this as it was a recommendation from a friend when I didn't know which musical to choose to take my mum whilst she was in town. The kids were simply brilliant - I'm still amazed by how good performers they are at such a tiny age - and so was all the cast. Also a big congrats to the team that built that incredible scenario as it was one of the best ones I've seen till this date! It's really worth every penny and even worth see it again and again. And the best thing is that both kids and grown ups loved it. Oh and I still have my paper airplane as a souvenir.

Ashleigh Arnott
Staff Writer

I am not ashamed (well, only a tiny bit ashamed) to admit that I love musicals, and have seen a lot of them. Matilda is hands down the best show I have ever seen. It must be some combination of wit, charm and intense talent that made me feel so completely overcome by joy that I started crying. In the first scene. Both times I have been to see it. The lyrics and music and staging and direction are completely genius – children clearly love the show but I don't know a grown-up who wouldn't be delighted by it. Long may it run so that I can see it at least another five times. Incidentally, my boyfriend hates musicals. He cried, too.

Warwick W

Loved it, loved it, loved it! 

I watched it with my wife before we had kids, I've now watched it with my 5 year old, and I've watched it with my friends.

Everyone I recommend says it's the best show they've watched in years - I have to agree myself!


Caroline M

I've seen this three times now with different casts and kids of various ages. It's a stone cold British classic. It's so much more subtle and beautifully put together than pretty much anything else on the West End. I took my five-year-old when it first opened and he still talks about it. I honestly think it'll be something that stays with him, even when he grows up.

Tom
moderatorStaff Writer

Great family entertainment, Mrs Trunchball steals the show. I'd heard it might be too scary for little ones but our 5 year old loved every minute.

From The Box Office

Mrs Trunchball is up there with our favourite scariest women on the West-End. This production is worth seeing for the chill factor alone! 

Emma Perry
Staff Writer

Took the family for a second time this weekend. Was expecting to feel the loss of Bertie Carvel as Miss Trunchbull but Craige Els was excellent. He perhaps didn't convey the vulnerability that Carvel managed in this most monstrous of characters, but he played the comedy to the full. As adults, we were again moved to tears by the depth, subtlety and complexity of Tim Minchin's score and lyrics. Our kids were on the edge of their seats throughout and couldn't stop talking about it afterwards. We all wanted to have a go on the huge swings which make When I Grow Up so hair-raisingly beautiful. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't walk out delighted after seeing this.

bowertron

best musical in London right now. I've seen the show 4 times now every-time I go I love it and everybody I take loves it too. Don't think you need to have kids with you to enjoy this production, you don't. A great night out for the young or the young at heart

Deep S

Fabulous production. Fun, poignant, cool - couldn't have wished for more.

Tom U

I thought it was amazing. Beautiful set and an amazing cast. A wonderful array of songs and music. Each scene was like seeing Roald Dahl write it in front of the audience. No one messed up and no one laughed on stage. The man who played Mrs. Trunchable was surprisingly funny, even though he never smiled. Five stars!

Sam  cohen

Very slow first half ... Poor sceens of endless library , feel asleep . Matilda boring no expression . Second half picked up a bit as teacher could act, a few more diff sceen changes and some story finally!! However end was rushed not sure why, as they could of lost half of the repetitive sceens in the first half. It would of been nice to see the teachers house at lest!!

Seema

Matilda: was an excellent musical. Couldn't have enough of it! would highly recommend it. The performances were excellent . My 6 year old daughter kept talking about it even the next day!

Paul Tame

Matilda - An excellent set with good choreography and music. Excellent cast and theater is comfortable. The show itself is predictable and sometimes the solos are a little over choreographed. The song are part of the narrative of the show, so the songs are not really memorable. Even though they reprise the best material a few times. Might be a little frightening and loud for young children under 5.

George A

Best show in London.. Matilda has a fantastic score, fantastic set and fantastic performers. The show is perfect for families and people who want to have a fantastic night out... Highly highly recommend.

Maiken Thamdrup

One super musical all actores can be proud of beeing a part of. We read the book before the play cause we are from Denmark, but our 2 kids loved it.

Jide

Absolutely brilliant show. The best stage production I have seen in many many years and one of the best pieces of entertainment I have ever seen. Fantastic music, staging and production. Would recommend to everybody!

India

This show is quite definitely one of the most incredible shows I've ever had the fortune to see in the west end. Each and every child and adult who appears on stage brings their own energy to the show, throwing your emotions up down and everywhere inbetween. The visual and sound effects leave your heart racing, and when the interval begins you only just realise how much you were gripping your seat in anticipation for what comes next. A fantastic show that you are guaranteed to fall in love with, whatever age you may be.

Rebecca

Absolutely, outstanding, musical. Great for all ages and a must see whilst in London. The young performers and Matidla's are so good at such a young age, also Miss Trunchball is a great character. Amazing magical storyline filled with catchy, happy songs along the way. Highly recommended for all the family.

MIHA

Very good musical with good acting and singing, Story is really magical. If you have kids is this performance one of best choises this moment.

Chuan

It's absolutely magical! A must see for all ages. Very touching storyline and beautifully executed. One of the best musicals I have watched.

MJ

Highly recommend. Choreography and acting were excellent. Rarely see kids on stage that don't overact and annoy me. The kid playing Matilda was spot on. Loved Miss Trunchbull. Songs good and clever but not memorable. My kids loved it and I was completely entertained and impressed.

Xandra Burns

Oh. My goodness. This is the modern musical at its best. I had my doubts - could any other medium than the written word do justice to such a beloved book? [The film, I think, did not]. Roald Dahl's novel is a book about the love of books, and actually, brilliantly, the musical is a story about the love of stories. A colourful, beautiful one at that. Good theatre results in thought and discussion, good musical theatre results in a buzz of passion and motivation. As I keep trying to explain to the genre’s dissenters: It's not just about pretty singing and impressive dancing, but about a connection between the audience's experience and the characters'. “Matilda” exemplifies this perfectly. From the moment you're ushered to your seat, you enter Her World - books are everywhere, tumbling off the proscenium, and this sense of inclusion escalates as the show goes on. Matilda is swept away to the world of fiction, and in following her story, we are too. The musical is not simply the book performed onstage, but an enhancement of it, with unfamiliar plotlines that capture the advantages of musical theatre. Songwriter Tim Minchin is known for telling it like it is, for bluntly stating the awkward and obvious that runs through our heads, and his score for the show retains this authenticity. But who knew Minchin could do cute as well as candid? If you want to read more, but keep putting it off, watch “Matilda”. If you need that kick of inspiration to spend less time in front of the telly, watch “Matilda”. If you want to learn to be a little bit naughty, watch “Matilda”. If you need reminder of the time when all you wanted out of life was to climb trees and eat sweets, watch “Matilda”.

Dave

Fantastic show with exceptional performances all round. Highly recommended.

Olivia O'Sullivan

So good I saw it twice! The first trip was a birthday surprise - as an avid Roald Dahl fan in my youth, I was keen to see the musical interpretation and was not disappointed. The story was close enough to the book to allow for reminiscing but each character had a slightly different and unique identity. The songs were incredibly catchy, I was singing them for weeks afterwards. Fantastic cast full of talent. Would heartily recommend!

siko

a jaw droppper.my kids didnt blink and im still hunmming the songs.bravo.

alex

Seen this 4 times now and I absolutely love it. It really is a must see. The gentleness and sense of joy and love has bread throughout this performance with the perfect mix of tears and laughter. The lyrics and lines are brilliant. "when I grow up!"

roger

Absolutely brilliant in every way. Lyrics, dancing, acting, sets and a great story with happiness, sadness and a real understanding of the freedom being a child is all about. Went with twelve year old daughter but could happily see it again soon. Lifts the spirits and deserves its awards.

Sophie

Only a few weeks after I saw it and I'd already happily watch it again. It was heartwarming without being twee, and full of childlike wonder without being childish. There were moments when the pace lagged a little and you may not go away humming the tunes but that doesn't seem to matter. Wherever you look in the production - set, performances, music - there is joy to behold.

Rose

Really good fun, excellent evening and does the book credit. The second half was amazing and they really did everything to make it impressive! Fantastic.

Dan

Absolutely barn-storming. The second half is pure joy... Cast are perfect. Miss Trunchbull is best stage villain I've ever seen. My seven-year-old LOVED it and so did I. All the bits in the book that you think would be hard to stage are done with rampant aplomb. And the subtle changes to make it more theatre-friendly work wonderfully well. I should just mention.... I'm in no way related to any of the cast or crew... and have no financial interest in the production ;-)

Daniel

Amazingly well produced, everything streamlined to a tee. In reply to the two three star reviews - this is based on the book not the film. If you go expecting the film it is very different.

Jeffrey

This play should be like les mis. Please release it on DVD. What are you waiting for? Go see it.

Show More