Matilda at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

This is not really a review, but sort of a general comment on Matilda as a thing.

If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that Matilda is a musical, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, and based on the book by Roald Dahl. It’s been wowing audiences in London and around the world since 2011.

Matilda Wormwood is the genius child of parents who don’t appreciate her and encourage her to watch TV rather than read those silly books, who helps her teacher reclaim her courage and her family history while also discovering that there are people in the world who encourage intelligence rather than try to stamp it out.

I’ve seen Matilda I think three times in London and went to see it today (hence the lateness of the post) at The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton as a treat for my youngest son. I should explain that after taking my eldest son to see The Lion King some years ago, I was disappointed to learn that he HATES musicals. So much so that he was incredibly sad to find out that the show carried on after the interval. This then was an experiment to see whether I would at least have one child with which to share my interests!

In general, hooray, he enjoyed it. My son has ADHD so sitting for a long period of time for something like this really is an effort, which he achieved admirably – his school choir are rehearsing When I Grow Up at the moment, so he did already have some idea of what the show might be like, but he did well to concentrate on all of it and he really enjoyed it.

As I’ve said, I’ve seen Matilda before and it was just as excellent as I remembered. I’m seeing it again in a couple of weeks with friends and I genuinely don’t think it’s a show I would get tired of. There is just such an exuberance about it and always loads to look at in the set and the actions of the supporting cast. The lyrics are very clever and repeated viewings reveal more little quips that you’ve not noticed before – it’s rare that a show can say that.

Playing Mrs Wormwood on the tour is Rebecca Thornhill, who (if I recall correctly) has been Mrs Wormwood every time I’ve seen the show, but then she IS amazing at it, and so funny in the role.

I’m really not sure which of the Matildas I saw tonight unfortunately, but for every one I’ve seen, I’m in awe of such a young child taking on this hefty role and performing it so well – today’s Matilda was just wonderful.

You can’t talk about this musical without mentioning Miss Trunchbull – played on the tour by Elliot Harper. A huge character (in many senses) requiring such an over-the-top performance, she’s a great character to hate and was played today in all her bonkers glory!

Sadly, this tour of Matilda is all but over (it plays into next month in Southampton, then the tour concludes in Norwich), but the London production is still going strong. I can highly recommend the show for adults and children – there were many quite young children there today and they were, on the whole, very well-behaved – and who knows? I may just book to see it again…

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1 Response to Matilda at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

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