Richard Lutz takes his pew for a five star performance of the hit musical.
There was a little girl sitting to my right as we watched the RSC production of Matilda now halfway through its two month Birmingham run. And this wee lass, she must have been six or seven, was singing her heart out as she propped herself on a booster seat to look over the heads of the grown-ups in front. She was in seventh heaven.
This musical, now heard around the world since its premiere at Stratford eight years ago, is a five star stunner. It’s faultless and a sheer delight. Production standards are high, acting and music all first class…the baddies real bad, the goodies, well, as you can guess real good.
And the overall effect can be summed up with that little girl chirping her lungs out as the cast ripped through its sixteen songs. She knew and adored every word. That was the real stamp of approval from this audience of (mainly) little girls and their enthralled parents.
Of course, in this Dahl fable, directed by old pro RSC Matthew Warchus, it’s the baddies that stand out. Craig Els (Ripper Street, The Imitation Game) is utterly evil as the creepy head teacher Mrs Trunchbull that he has reprised from his West End stint. Matilda’s dumbo parents, Rebecca Thornhill (Cats, Mary Poppins) and Sebastien Torkia (Paddington 2, Mamma Mia) not only play the moronic couple to a tee but are both accomplished song and dance troupers. Nice Brummie accent too from Ms Thornhill.
Hats off, of course, to the star Lara Cohen as the lead. She is one of four very young actresses to portray Matilda in this long UK tour and she has a lot of stage time in the central role. Eye opening to see such a young actor shoulder a two hour forty minute production that has taken the theatre by storm.
Until 8th September. Tickets.