Matilda the Musical may have been running late due to technical issues at last night's Palace Theatre Manchester show, but when things kicked off, a stellar performance was given by all from start to finish. We were warned that some aspects of the show may be a little different to the usual, but there wasn't ever a noticeable moment that stood out as being a result of the troubles they were facing. That's exactly what we expect from professionals, and all of those on stage went above and beyond to ensure we were given the same standard of performance as everybody else would be able to enjoy.

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

The charming Sophia Ally took on the titular role of Matilda Wormwood in our show: a brilliantly bright young girl with a wonderful gift; but somebody who has never been appreciated or respected by either one of her parents. Her mother thinks she's got something wrong with her because of her love for books, and her father refuses to accept the fact he's fathered a daughter. Her brains are wasted at home, and so she finds refuge in the local library where she can get lost in a number of different stories. Ally may only be a youngster, but she's one of the best performers we've had the privilege of seeing in action, and brings Matilda to life perfectly.

Rebecca Thornhill tackles the role of Matilda's mother Mrs Wormwood with ferocity. She's the ultimate material girl with an unhealthy obsession when it comes to her salsa dancing partner Rudolpho (Matt Gillett). The pair have a brilliant chemistry on stage, and when they are given the chance to show off their dancing skills, they set the stage on fire.

She stars opposite Sebastien Torkia as Mr Wormwood: a man obsessed with making money by cutting corners and pulling off dodgy deals. Bringing humour to the production, he's someone we love to despise, but also somebody we pity. His personality is born out of insecurity, but that's no excuse for the despicable way in which he treats his daughter. Don't worry though: she knows exactly how to get her revenge...

Despite her life being far from perfect, things go from bad to even worse when she starts school. Though there's a brilliant teacher there called Miss Honey - played impeccably by Carly Thoms who has the voice of an angel - who appreciates her in a way she's never seen before, she finds herself going up against the biggest and baddest bully the world has ever seen: Miss Trunchbull.

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan
Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Craige Els is really in his element as the formidable headteacher. She's a figure of fear and threat, forever reminding the children under her care that she could lock them away in the "chokey" whenever she deems it necessary. Trunchbull is a Dahl character through and through; campy and terrifying, but also hilarious at times. Els shines in the spotlight, and after seeing his performance we can't imagine anybody else doing as good of a job with the villain.

The cast of children should all be celebrated for their brilliance: Dylan Hughes as Bruce; Kit Swaddling as Tommy; Joely Richardson as Alice; Louella Asanta-Osuwu as Lavender; Ilan Miller; Joseph Black as Nigel; Maddison Lowe as Hortensia; and Jess Chalmers as Amanda. We imagine they've got some lengthy theatre careers ahead of them.

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan
Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Writer Dennis Kelly and composer/lyricist Tim Minchin have done what many thought was an impossible job of putting together the Roald Dahl story for the stage, with some incredibly clever and witty songs that had the audience roaring with laughter at times, and feeling sympathetic for the characters at others.

If Matilda the Musical has one overarching message, it's that it's cool to be a bookworm. It's good to be a nerd. Don't get your nose out of a book, and certainly don't listen to those who tell you that you're not good enough! It's a message that the youth of today need more than ever before.

A huge congratulations to absolutely everybody who has been involved in putting this show together. It's one of a kind, an instant classic, and one that I already can't wait to see again.

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan
Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Matilda the Musical runs at the Palace Theatre Manchester until November 24, 2018.


by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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