What a great production and what a wonderful family evening at the Bristol Hippodrome Theatre!
Of course, the signs were all positive: the original story was by that master storyteller Roald Dahl; the music and lyrics are by musical comedian extraordinaire Tim Minchin; and the Hippodrome has never, ever let us down on any of our many visits.
Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl with an amazing mind. The problem is, her parents have no time for her whatsoever, while her school is ruled over by the evil and overbearing Mrs Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing athlete with a hatred of children.
However, as with any story from the pen of the Roald Dahl, you can be sure that the plot involves wonderful characters, perfect plot turns and those wonderful elements that only a writer with a genuine understanding of what makes children tick can deliver. And with this production, you can add in wonderful songs from Mr Minchin, alongside brilliantly choreographed and performed dance scenes.
Along the way we’re introduced to Matilda’s disfunctional family life, the terrors of school life and wonders of the loving support offered by the perfectly named Miss Honey. We also learn that Matilda is actually a boy – according to her dad at least – books are evil and Russians are nocturnal, but you’ll have to watch the show to understand these fully…
Throughout the acting is absolutely top drawer, none more so than our Matilda for the evening, Olivia Cleverley. On what is her professional debut, she gave a wonderfully polished and endearing performance that absolutely won the audience over and fully deserved its standing ovation. OK, yes, there were times when her vocal delivery could have been a little clearer, but all in all this was a most polished and endearing performance.
Elsewhere, across the cast the performances were superb, none more so than Sebastian Torkia as Matilda’s dodgy used car salesman dad Mr Wormwood, who is the epitome of every dodgy dad, Arthur Daley style geezer you could imagine, all tightly rolled up along with superb timing, delivery and moves. With the equally excellent Rebecca Thornhill as his wife, these wonderfully terrible parents lit up the stage every time that they graced it, and delivered some of the shows best comedy moments.
Praise should also go to Elliot Harper as the awful Miss Trunchbull, full of menace, unpleasantness and hatred, yet portrayed with a classy comedic touch and timing.
And of course we couldn’t forget the child actors who play Matilda’s classmates and cohorts. These young stars are absolutely that – stars – delivering high-energy and high-class performances that makes he wonder how they can achieve so much and deliver so impressively when I struggle to get my three children to put their dirty clothes out for washing!
Throughout my eight year old son and I loved every minute, from the giant burps to the silly dances and slapstick comedy, to everything in between. With the production running until 8 June, we can absolutely recommend Matilda The Musical as a great family night out.
For more information and to order tickets, click here.