A Magical Experience

A Kid Reporter weighs in on Matilda the Musical, now on Broadway

Apr 24, 2013 | Reviewed by TFK Kid Reporter Phoebe Weintraub
COURTESY WEINTRAUB FAMILY

TFK Kid Reporter Phoebe Weintraub (center) meets with the four actresses who play Matilda.

I have loved Matilda, by Roald Dahl, for many years, so I was very excited to see the new Broadway musical based on the book. As I took my seat, my eyes focused on the striking set in front of me. Surrounding the stage were hundreds of blocks, each with a letter of the alphabet, giving the audience a taste of the whimsical performance to come. Before the show even started, I had a feeling that I was going to love it.

Matilda's teacher, Ms. Honey (left), tries to defend her students against the evil Miss Trunchbull (right).
©JOAN MARCUS
Matilda's teacher, Ms. Honey (left), tries to defend her students against the evil Miss Trunchbull (right).

Throughout Matilda the Musical, there are often children singing and dancing onstage. Watching these talented young performers was a highlight for me. Four young actresses take turns playing the role of Matilda, a clever little girl who stands up to cruel adults. Matilda's parents, the scheming Mr. Wormwood and his superficial wife, Mrs. Wormwood, treat their daughter as if she belongs to another family. But the actors who portray them bring a dose of comedy to their roles.

The musical is true to the plot of the book that Dahl created. It follows the ups and downs of Matilda and her classmates at Crunchem Hall Primary School and the ghastly treatment they receive at the hand of their headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Matilda’s life at home is no better than at school. The only light in Matilda's life is her teacher, Miss Honey, who is the only one who understands Matilda.

For me, the most surprising thing about the show was that one of my favorite characters, Miss Trunchbull, is played by a man—the extremely entertaining Bertie Carvel. Trunchbull intimidates the children in the show with her over-the-top temper and unusual forms of discipline. If I were Amanda Thripp, a student who is bullied by Trunchbull because of her braids, I couldn't get out of that school fast enough!

The audience of the performance that I attended was made up of kids, teenagers and adults. I think people of all ages, whether they are already fans of Roald Dahl or not, will love this musical.