Earlham Street, London
Previewed: 25 October 2011
Opened: 24 November 2011
Booking up to: 24 May 2020
Buy tickets:Buy tickets online
Nearest Tube: Covent Garden
Monday no show
Tuesday at 7.00pm
Wednesday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Thursday at 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 3.00pm
Runs 2 hours and 40 minutes including one interval
£ to £
(plus booking fees if applicable)
The critically acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Roald Dahl's Matilda in London featuring music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and book by Dennis Wise and directed by Matthew Warchus.
Roald Dahl's magical story about a girl with extraordinary powers has been a favourite novel for millions of people across the world since it was published in 1988. Now Matilda bursts into life on stage in this brand new musical version and children and adults alike are sure to be thrilled and delighted by the story of the special little girl with an extraordinary imagination.
In this world children, there are two types of human being, the winners and the losers... I am A WINNER. I play by the rules and I win. I have always obeyed rules, but what if the rules BETRAY ME, then it is time for the rules to learn who is boss, it is time for the rules to learn that IT IS THEIR TURN TO OBEY BE!" In a world where children are seen and not heard, one child stands up for what is right!...
When this production opened in London Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail praised the show as being "a fabulous family fizzer. It has strong tunes, witty lyrics and enough 'eew!' moments to satisfy the most revolting urchin." Dominic Maxwell in the Times commented that this "is a family show that you don't need a family to enjoy, which injects invention and energy to everything it does." Julie Carpenter in the Daily Express explained that now "transferred to the West End it proves an absolute cracker of a show, bursting with dynamism, fizzing with verve... Gloriously over the top it's an irresistible and ingenious mix of fun, fizz, cruelty, incredible choreography and above all warmth which means we root for the kids from the start. Fantastic." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times described how "the creative team behind this RSC musical pitches the tone beautifully. They catch Dahl's peppery, mischievous, dark imagination and tell his story of the gifted Matilda , her ghastly parents and her wicked headmistress with real zest." Lyn Gardner in the Guardian wrote that "writer Dennis Kelly and composer and lyricist Tim Minchin go to the top of the class with this anarchically joyous, gleefully nasty and ingenious musical adaptation." In the London Evening Standard Henry Hitchings said that "Matilda is a gem... a show of rare inventiveness and charm," adding that "Rob Howell's towering design is ingenious, there is delicious choreography by Peter Darling and director Matthew Warchus marries moments of dazzling, noisy brilliance with others of real poignancy... This is true family entertainment. Children will enjoy its blissful mix of fantasy and irreverence and adults will savour it for these same reasons as well as a host of different ones. This generous, big-hearted piece is already being spoken of as one of the best new British musicals in years." When this same prodcution originally opened in Stratford-upon-Avon Neil Norman in the Daily Express highlighted that the musical "ticks the boxes where other kids' shows don't even have boxes. It is funny, terrifying, tuneful, tragic, entertaining and moving," adding that "we are captivated by the story and the characterisation which is just over the top enough to be funny without losing sight of reality... absolutely fabulous." Libby Purves in the Times noted how "Dennis Kelly's adaptation grips from the start," while "jokes and numbers come thick and fast, both physical and verbal." Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph hailed it as being "the best British musical since Billy Elliot and a smash hit that will surely be the toast of the West End once its run in Stratford is over... highly entertaining," a "joyous adaptation" with "splendidly witty, instantly hummable songs, dazzling choreography, a cast of impossibly cute and delightful children," adding that director Matthew Warchus "brings the show to life with a buzzing vitality that proves irresistible." Paul Taylor in the Independent said that in "this wildly entertaining musical... Dennis Kelly's clever adaptation and the witty, intricate songs by Aussie comic Tim Minchin create a new, improved version of Dahl's story," while "Matthew Warchus's wondrously well-drilled production finds just the right balance between gleeful grotesque humour and heart-warming poignancy." Michael Billington in the Guardian wrote that "child spectators will relish its picture of adult insensitivity and injustice, while adults will enjoy a display of showbiz expertise that may not be pure Dahl, but is nevertheless wholly delightful."
"Dennis Kelly's work, with a composition from Tim Minchin and the great Matthew Warchus directing, has made a swift West End transfer and seems assured of a long-term home at the Cambridge Theatre now that Chicago has finally vacated the premises. While it lacks a big, hummable number, it is presented with such exuberance and flair that no adult - or child - in the first night audience seemed able to resist it. The show's great strength is that it doesn't patronise the youngsters. Its humour is black and knowing, and there is an implicit acceptance - as every child knows only too well - that not all stories have a happy ending." The Sunday Telegraph
"By investing the children in his books with qualities - hyperintelligence, insightfulness, empathy, stoicism - that would help them triumph over dastardly, duplicitous adults, Roald Dahl often sailed close to the wind in terms of older readers' patience... In the novel, in the 1996 film and, now, in the RSC's thrillingly staged musical adaptation, we root for her, rather than balking at this potentially offputting infant prodigy. It helps, in Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin's adaptation, that every single aspect of the production - casting, songs, Rob Howell's book-and alphabetstrewn set and lurid costumes, Peter Darling's choreography - is both so perfect and so ruthlessly targeted. It is clear from the opening bars that the team's sole focus is to engage, to entertain and to tell the story." The Sunday Times
"Matilda was decked with awards as last Christmas's show in Stratford-upon-Avon for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Not since Les Miserables has the RSC had such resounding success, and now it arrives in the West End. This is undoubtedly the best new British musical since Billy Elliot, and has much in common with it: a gifted child who wants to escape from a grim situation, and plenty to laugh, to cry and to sing about. And like Billy Elliot, the show embraces toughness (in a good way) and determination, and avoids silly soppy sentiment. For the heroine of Roald Dahl's story, Matilda, escape comes via books, the power of imagination and her uncrushable spirit. Rob Howell's design of alphabet building bricks, Scrabble letters and towering bookshelves spells this out spectacularly. So do Tim Minchin's lyrics. They powerfully express the love of language he shares with Matilda and Dahl, and his own relish for deliciously awful rhymes - though lines get drowned by Minchin's score, which is by turns raucous, jaunty and poignant but also occasionally deafening... Director Matthew Warchus gets stunning performances from a well-drilled cast... Here is a must-see musical with magic as well as muscle." The Mail on Sunday
Due to the extended time needed to move the set into the theatre the first five previews at the Cambridge Theatre in London were cancelled and the official 'opening night' was delayed by three days.
Matilda The Musical in London at the Cambridge Theatre previewed from 25 October 2011, opened on 24 November 2011 (originally scheduled to preview from 18 October 2011 and open on 22 November 2011).