The opening song and many scenes throughout were literal eye-candy with vibrant colours and ingeniously choreographed dances coupled with the renowned and equally ingenious soundtrack. However it did feel as though some songs could have been better introduced as they were slotted in a little awkwardly, with numbers like ‘When I Grow Up’ seeming to detract from the storyline slightly. Suffice to say, they were executed exceptionally by the talented, star-studded cast.
Lashana Lynch proved her versatility in playing Miss Honey, a character a world apart from the tough, kick-ass roles in James Bond and Marvel that propelled her into fame. Despite not being as terrifying as Pam Ferris in the original Matilda movie, Emma Thompson, as usual, seemed made for the role with a wonderfully deranged eye-twitch and demonic smile as she became the nightmarish headmistress of Crunchem Hall. Matilda the Musical also introduced new but surely soon-to-be famous faces such as Alisha Weir who brought the curious genius Matilda to life. The talented ensemble of schoolchildren elevated the entire film with their epic dances; several times they reminded me of the gritty French working-class from Les Miserables. They really were brilliant to watch and ‘Revolting Children’ had my heart racing with its fabulous choreography.
The one thing I loved from the start was the refreshingly perfect diversity of cast members and ensemble which is desperately needed in cinema. Though the film mostly adhered to Roald Dahl’s original storyline, it seemed as if every aspect was reimagined to appeal to the modern world. Fairgrounds, hot-air balloons, sparkly silver blazers and disco lights alongside other fantastically wacky moments gave this film a slightly dream-like effect, with each scene crazier than the last. In addition to the traditional storyline, another colourful story is intricately woven into the plot which appears at first to be from Matilda’s imagination, until by the end of Lynch’s powerful solo ‘My House’ it becomes clear that it is something much more unusual…
It’s quirky. It’s fun. It’s a classic reinvented. It really is a musical all right.