Roald Dahl's Matilda battles bullies on Broadway


Bertie Carvel steals scenes and carries the show.

The truth is Matilda isn't one of Roald Dahl's most interesting works. Oh, it's a charming and typically dark effort by the old master and you'll certainly find yourself rooting for his bright and put-upon young creation, but there are contradictions in the narrative that make you wonder why it takes the time it takes for the story to end happily.

That's not the case with the Royal Shakespeare Company's absurdly entertaining new musical Matilda based on Dahl's book, now playing on Broadway.

This high octane production, which features choreography that's sometimes so athletically over the top it's a little exhausting to witness, manages to do the near impossible and outfit the slim story line with songs and dance routines that add immeasurably to the source material.

With it's theme of the imaginations power to push back against the ugly realities of life, and the power of books to transform any existence, you'll cheer as smart as a whip little Matilda learns to push back against the bully who wants to boss her around.

As Miss Trunchbull, actor Bertie Carvel inhabits the role of the headmistress from Hell so successfully you might as well award him a Tony right now (it's all but inevitable). His grotesque makeup, his hunched back, his shuffling walk and his vocal stylings are captivatingly sinister and unspeakably funny.

The four young American actresses who alternate in the title role have all successfully mastered their British accents, but in the first act their projection occasionally faltered in certain songs. But these are the teething troubles of a new production, the over all performance never misses a note.

Try to book your tickets now because they're going to become sought after. This show delivers the best new musical on Broadway since The Book of Mormon broke the bank.


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