Photo credit: Matilda the Musical (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

Everything you need to know about 'Matilda the Musical' in London

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Matilda the Musical is one of Britain's biggest musicals of the 21st century. Adapted from the Roald Dahl novel, audiences have taken Matilda Wormwood's David and Goliath inspired story into their hearts. There's nowhere that brings Crunchem Hall to life quite like the West End.

Matilda captures the essence of an innocent schoolkid with the wit and cleverness to match. Matilda London performances began in 2011, and there's no signs of slowing down. Here's our complete guide to the West End production of Matilda.

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What is Matilda the Musical about?

At the start of the show, audiences meet Matilda Wormwood. She's a young schoolkid with a thirst for knowledge; everything she sees, hears and reads about is an opportunity to learn. Sadly, her desire to better her mind isn't met by her vacuous parents, who rarely talk to her.

Attending Crunchem Hall, she finally meets someone who she looks up to — her teacher Miss Honey. The school isn't filled with Miss Honey's though. Miss Trunchbull rules the roost and you can't miss her. Trying to save the day, Matilda and Miss Honey overthrow the system, creating a brand new world for them.

What theatre in London is Matilda the Musical playing at?

Matilda the Musical is currently at the Cambridge Theatre, where it has continuously played since its London opening. Typically a musical playhouse, previous shows at the Cambridge Theatre include Chicago, Jerry Springer - The Opera and Fame.

What is the running time of Matilda the Musical?

The Matilda the Musical running time is 2 hours and 40 minutes, including a 15 minute interval.

When did Matilda the Musical premiere?

The world premiere of Matilda the Musical took place at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. At first, Matilda played for a limited engagement, with performances from 9 Nov. 2010 - 30 Jan. 2011, however its first three months made such an impression, a West End transfer was quickly announced.

The West End premiere of Matilda the Musical took place on 25 Oct. 2011 at the Cambridge Theatre, where Matilda continues to run today. After a month of previews, the official opening night came on 24 Nov. 2011.

The Broadway production of Matilda the Musical came nearly two years after the first performances. Performances began at the Shubert Theatre on 4 Mar. 2013, with an opening night on 11 Apr. 2013. After 1,555 performances, the production closed on New Year's Day in 2017. Productions of Matilda the Musical have also premiered in Australia, Korea, South Africa, the Philippines and China.

Who wrote Matilda the Musical?

The Matilda the Musical story is adapted from Roald Dahl's children novel of the same name. Numerous Roald Dahl publications have been told on stage, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was staged at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Dennis Kelly adapted Matilda for the stage, making his West End playwriting debut for the production. He also wrote plays for the Royal Court Theatre, including The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas and Girls & Boys.

Who wrote the songs in Matilda the Musical?

The Australian comic Tim Minchin penned music and lyrics for Matilda the Musical. As part of his comedy act, he'll often include musical elements. But, Matilda marked a sharp turn to West End theatre. Since Matilda, Minchin has played Judas in a national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as writing the music and lyrics for the Olivier Award-winning musical Groundhog Day.

Who is in the Matilda the Musical cast?

Victoria Alsina, Maisie Mardle, Laurel Sumberg and Heidi Williams share the title role of Matilda.

Lauren Byrne plays Miss Honey, joined by Elliot Harper as Miss Trunchbull, Landi Oshinowo as Mrs Phelps, Rakesh Boury as Mr Wormwood and Amy Ellen Richardson as Mrs Wormwood.

The Matilda adult cast includes Felipe Bejarano, Angeline Bell, Oliver Bingham, Liberty Buckland, Thea Bunting, Michael Gardiner, Aaron Jenkins, Kate Kenrick, Sam Lathwood, Connor Lewis, Dianté Lodge, Kira McPherson, Gemma Scholes, Alistair So and James Wolstenholme.

The Matilda childrens cast includes Mia Atkinson, Leo Babet, Florence Burt, Poppy Caton, Zuri-Michel Charalambou, Kylan Denis, Brodie Edwards, Jude Farrant, Riotafari Gardner, Finley Hartlett, Lily Hanna, Tia Isaac, Miley Kayongo, Shayla McCormack, Isabelle Mullallay, Jasmine Nyenya, Raphaella Philbert, Jack Philpott, Riley Plummer, Jasmine Pottinger-Scott, Ashton Robertson, Leon Saunders, Andrei Shen-U Shen, Noah Swer-Fox and Lucia Wratten.

What are the songs in Matilda the Musical?

Matilda the Musical features an original score by Tim Minchin, drawing on Roald Dahl's work. Stand-out songs include "Naughty" sung by Matilda, as well as the full company on stage in "When I Grow Up" and "Revolting Children." Here's a full list of songs in Matilda the Musical.

Act 1

"Miracle" - Children, Teacher/Party Entertainer, Doctor, Mrs. Wormwood, Mr. Wormwood, Matilda, Company
"Naughty" - Matilda
"School Song" - Ensemble
"Pathetic" - Miss Honey
"The Hammer" - Miss Trunchbull, Miss Honey, Children
"Loud" - Mrs. Wormwood, Rudolpho, Ensemble
"This Little Girl" - Miss Honey
"Bruce" - Company

Act 2

"Telly" - Mr. Wormwood, Michael
"When I Grow Up" - Children, Miss Honey, Matilda, Company
"Story 4: I'm Here" - Matilda, Escapologist
"The Smell of Rebellion" - Miss Trunchbull, Children
"Quiet" - Matilda
"My House" - Miss Honey, Escapologist
"Revolting Children" - Children, Ensemble
"When I Grow Up" (reprise) - Company
"Naughty" (reprise II) - Company

What awards has Matilda the Musical won?

Matilda the Musical broke Olivier Awards history when nominations were announced. The production was nominated in all ten categories it was eligible for, with the Broadway production also impressing award voters. Here's all the major awards that Matilda has won.

Olivier Awards

Best New Musical
Best Actor in a Musical - Bertie Carvel
Best Actress in a Musical - Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Eleanor Worthington Cox, Sophia Kiely
Best Director - Matthew Warchus
Best Theatre Choreographer - Peter Darling
Best Set Design - Rob Howell
Best Sound Design - Simon Baker

Tony Awards

Best Book of a Musical - Dennis Kelly
Best Featured Actor in a Musical - Gabriel Ebert
Best Scenic Design of a Musical - Rob Howell
Best Lighting Design of a Musical - Hugh Vanstone
Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre - Sophia Gennusa, Oona Lawrence, Bailey Ryan, Milly Shapiro

Is there a movie adaptation of Matilda the Musical?

As well as the 1996 Matilda film starring Danny DeVito and Mara Wilson, a new Matilda film adaptation is in the works. Unlike the first film, the new movie is directly based on the musical.

11-year-old Dubliner Alisha Weir will play the title schoolgirl, joined by Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull and Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey. The Matilda musical film will be released in December 2022.

What are some fun facts about Matilda the Musical?

  • Each performance uses a lot of confetti. Annually, approximately 12 million pieces are flown into the faces of West End audiences.
  • Shakespeare once wrote "Though she be but little, she is fierce..." and that's definitely true for Matilda Wormwood. Standing at 4 feet 4 inches, Matilda is the smallest leading lady in the West End.

How do I get tickets for Matilda the Musical in London?

You need to see Matilda the Musical in London. The popular Roald Dahl musical is fun, entertaining, and proves that goodness can triumph.

Book Matilda the Musical tickets on London Theatre.

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Photo credit: Matilda the Musical (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

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