Matilda The Musical review: A heartbreaking, hair-raising blast of nostalgia | Films | Entertainment

The much-beloved Roald Dahl tale comes back to screen this week with arguably the most sensational cast seen in cinema this year. With catchy tunes, stunning choreography by an army of child actors and breathtaking visuals, Matilda the Musical is arguably the best stage-to-screen adaptation since Rent. 

The story of Matilda has been told and retold countless times in the 34 years since it was published, and audiences wouldn’t be entirely out of place questioning if another one is truly needed.

However, under the guidance of Tim Minchin, Dennis Kelly and Matthew Warchus, the tale is taken to new hair-raising heights with a splash of some extra gorgeous details only ever seen before on stage. 

Before heading to the cinemas, one thing audiences should understand is that Matilda the Musical is not an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book.

Somewhat confusingly, it is rather an adaptation of the award-winning stage musical that is an adaptation of the bestselling book. Where the 1996 film fits in we may never know. 

Both the play and the film are spearheaded by the same creative team, Matthew, Tim and Dennis, providing a smooth transition from stage to screen. 

Admittedly, numbers like When I Grow Up and Revolting Children do not have the same impact as they did on stage.

This is undeniably part of the sacrifice that must be made for every musical adaptation, unfortunately, but still packs enough punch to leave audiences wanting to start a revolution. 

However, the film more than makes up for it as audiences are treated to a visual spectacle with the help of CGI and movie-magic that would not have been possible on stage, holding some surprises even for the most avid musical theatre fans. 

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And it’s not just the three leaders that pull this film together, as the incredible cast also deserves some praise. 

Whether it’s 13-year-old Alisha Weir holding her own against a prosthetic-laiden Emma Thompson or Lashana Lynch showing off her singing chops after countless action flicks, the leads are immaculate. 

Lashana’s heartfelt portrayal of Ms Honey is outrageously good when considering just last month audiences knew her as one of the terrifying Agojie warriors in The Woman King. 

Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough also make for a hilarious couple as Matilda’s parents while the sensational ensemble of over 200 child actors are a true sight to behold. 


There’s a reason Emma Thompson herself has described the young crew as “Trojans”. 

For musical theatre fans who can’t get into the West End or Broadway, Matilda the Musical is the saving grace we needed after the disaster that was the Dear Evan Hansen movie.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is another children’s film perfectly situated for the holiday season as it holds something for every audience member. 

Children can revel in the incredible sights, sounds and story of Matilda while the intense retelling acts almost like therapy for an adults’ inner child. 

The blast of nostalgia is unparalleled with new intricacies and details added to make the tale anew once more. 

Prepare to cry, laugh and have Tim’s musical symphonies playing in your head for the rest of the festive season. 

Matilda the Musical releases in cinemas on November 25. 

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