REVIEW: Matilda's imagination runs wild is 'extraordinary' show at Bristol Hippodrome

PUBLISHED: 13:58 10 May 2019

Olivia Cleverley, one of the four actresses who share the role of Matilda in the Royal Shakespeare Company�s Matilda The Musical UK and Ireland Tour marks the show�s arrival in Bristol outside The Bristol Hippodrome. Picture: Dave Betts

Olivia Cleverley, one of the four actresses who share the role of Matilda in the Royal Shakespeare Company�s Matilda The Musical UK and Ireland Tour marks the show�s arrival in Bristol outside The Bristol Hippodrome. Picture: Dave Betts

Dave Betts

My inner child was screaming to come out and play last night (Thursday) when we saw Matilda: The Musical at the Bristol Hippodrome.

The cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel HarlanThe cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel Harlan

From the remarkable set to fantastic dance, this was a show to behold and what a show it was.

Matilda: The Musical follows the story of a little girl with a big brain and an even bigger heart.

Born into a family who don't appreciate her, Matilda finds solace in books and story-writing.

But when she starts at her new school, Matilda finds she has talents beyond her wildest dreams.

The cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel HarlanThe cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel Harlan

However her crude and ridiculous parents (Rebecca Thornhill and Sebastien Torkia) and the terrifying Miss Trunchbull (Elliot Harper) will do whatever they can to make sure the youngster doesn't succeed.

The Royal Shakespeare Company's take on Roald Dahl's classic is simply extraordinary.

For my night at the theatre, I had Olivia Cleverley take on the role of Matilda and wow, did she blow me away.

My friend and I were saying she would have had us in tears of pride if she was our little girl - and the audience agreed when everyone sprung to their feet as she entered the stage for her final bow.

The cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel HarlanThe cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel Harlan

This witty and hilarious youngster had the audience in the palm of her hand and had the singing voice to back up her impressive acting skills.

Her renditions of Naughty and Quiet were what really brought Matilda into her own and her cheeky but honest nature made her loveable and a joy to watch.

On the other side of the coin, you had the hideous and cruel Miss Trunchball and she was everything my younger self had imagined from reading the book.

But despite being the very clear 'bad guy' in this story, you couldn't help but laugh at Harper's take on the wicked woman. Harper's stage presence was second to none and I found it very fitting for the smallest and tallest actors to command the stage the best.

The cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel HarlanThe cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel Harlan

The backwards pairing of Thornhill and Torkia was yet another plus point to this musical.

The randomly funny salsa scenes and outrageous drama queen behaviour of Mrs Wormwood and the annoying yet hilarious nature of Mr Wormwood made them a brilliant duo to behold.

But, what stole the show for me was the remarkable staging and choreography.

The music matched wonderfully and the talented company of both adults and children was some of the best I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

The cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel HarlanThe cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel Harlan

The School Song was brilliant with the creative staging of the alphabet while the gentler and melodic tones of When I Grow Up made me long for my days as a child once again.

The final song Revolting Children just rounded off the show with a cherry on top and now I can't get the fantastic tune out of my head.

The director of this magnificent show thought through the roles so cleverly, with the use of older and younger actors to act as a symbol of ageing - pairing them together based on similar attributes.

If I could, I would see this show again and again and see what twists the other Matildas and child cast bring to each role.

The cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel HarlanThe cast of Matilda: The Musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Picture: Manuel Harlan

If you have not bought tickets for this show yet, then do the right thing and get them now.

Matilda is at the Hippdrome, in St Augustines Parade, from now (Friday) until June 8 at various times.

Tickets, starting at £25, and show times are available from the theatre's website.

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