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Photo by Manuel Harlan

My mummy says I'm a jumped up little germ
That kids like me should be against the law.
My daddy says I should learn to shut my pie hole
No one likes a smart-mouthed girl like me.

Matilda walks onstage with frazzled hair, forlornly singing these lines just after a gaggle of brats have boasted about their own parents' affections for them.... and thus steals our hearts in the opening scene of the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic, which opened just last week at the Cambridge Theatre. Eleanor Worthington Cox is one of the 4 girls cast to play the little leading lady and is one of the finest performers I have ever seen - and she's freaking 10 years old. It's mindboggling that anyone that age can carry solo numbers, memorise complex dialogue, dance several romping routines, and - in one particularly hilarious scene - speak in Russian. Her pint-sized fellow performers are equally matched in talent and when I wasn't busy going "DAAAAW", I was laughing my ass off. Although a lot of the plot details have been altered, Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly have kept true to the spirit of Dahl's dark humour and childlike imagination in their writing of the songs and script, adding their own flavour of anarchy. Bertie Carvel is delightfully terrifying as a cross dressing Miss Trunchbull, and as for Matilda's odious father, the Guardian describes Paul Kaye as "a Quentin Blake illustration made flesh." The set design was brilliant - when you walk in, you're hit by a visual barrage of oversized wooden scrabble tiles with beautiful hand drawn letters arranged across the theatre. Every scene incorporates the motif of squares and blocks, creating a compartmentalised chaos (see amazing library photo).

10/10 - New favourite!

Here's a video of the song Revolting Children - one part Spring Awakening, one part Oliver! and two parts Dahl:

Matilda a Musical: Revolting Children from Dusthouse on Vimeo.