Matilda has a rather unusual plot written by the celebrated master of way out children's stories Roald Dahl who's life was also very interesting (former husband of Patricia Neal and World War 11 flying ace for the Royal Air Force). To summarize, it is about the adventures of a little girl unwanted by her wacky parents who is sent off to school directed by a bitter and spiteful headmistress. She impresses her benevolent teacher Miss Honey who befriends and eventually loves her but the constant threat of the bullying headmistress Miss Trunchbull is always present. The story does have a happy ending though. I won't spoil it for you but the kids who watch the show will not go home crying. The production moves along at a nice pace and reveals different aspects of Matilda's and her loving teacher Miss Honey's lives. The dialog is cute and funny and adults as well as children will (or should) love this play. Matthew Warchus' direction is terrific. The choreography is lively and refreshing. The sets are youthful and fun when they need to be and gloomy and intimidating when the scenes call for them to be. I found the music to be good (not great) and at times the lyrics as well as the dialog were difficult to understand through the highly talented kids' accents and high pitched voices. The entire cast was splendid especially the main characters with a special tip of the hat to Craig Bierko who played the wretched headmistress Miss Trunchbull. Everyone I saw in the audience seemed to love the show also. Matilda may not be the best musical I've ever seen but it was tremendous fun and a great night at the theater.
2hr. 30min. (1 intermission)
This is, without a doubt, the worst musical i have seen on Broadway in over 50 years of seeing Broadway musicals. That first visit cost $13.50 for good orchestra seats to Camelot on New Year's Eve 1960, and I watched the consummate performances of Julie Andrews, Richard Burton and Robert Goulet and listened to one of Lerner and Loewe's classic scores. There have been downs and ups since then, but overall I have come to view the musical as America's great contribution to popular culture. So Let's call a spade a spade: the story, about a little girl who uses psychic powers to accomplish some small worthwhile thing, is a slender reed on which to hang a musical. The music is so London, so derivative of Elton John's "Billy Elliott" that if I were Sir Elton, I'd sue. As is the case with all the Sondheim copycats, Elton John copycats lack the genius, wordsmithing ability ( think "Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher") and tonal texture of the original and basically demean the original's skill. Others may find them endearing, but to me the little children screaming into an amplification system that made them even harsher and shriller than life were proof positive that children should be seen and not heard. I had been very reluctant to go to this show, but my wife and all the good reviews convinced me otherwise. From now on, I go with my gut. Was there anything positive to report? Regrettably, no. And for a show that cost as much as the Met Opera, that's a very sad commentary indeed.
I've seen this show twice in London and love it. I hope New Yorkers ensure it has a nice long Broadway run.
Last night I had the great pleasure of seeing this musical and boy was I glad I did. It was so well done and myself and my two guests thoroughly enjoyed it. I am a native Californian and was visiting family and friends. This was my second time seeing a Broadway play first one was Chorus Line back in 2008/9, I can't wait to go again. All the cast was amazing I especially enjoyed Bertie as Ms. Trunchbull, Bailey as Matilda, and Lauren Ward as Ms. Honey. In addition to the acting: the set design, sound quality, and lights were spectacular. If you are a fan of the book and/or love to dive into world of imagination you should definitely see this play. I am going to do my best to fly back to see it one more time after it opens.