Matilda the Musical
The Civic, Auckland, NZ
August 22nd, 2017
5/5 stars


The magic of Roald Dahl in the hands of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin have created a musical revoltingly brilliant.

With a show as famous as this, finding the right actress for the spirited Matilda is no small feat but Izellah Connelly (one of four Matildas) provided the perfect combination of strength, intelligence and cheekiness. Her voice much more powerful than her stature sent waves across the sold out theatre. The show is crafted through her storytelling ability and seen through her child like sense of wonderment.

The inclusion of a range of ages for the Crunchem Hall students, from those who truly were as young as 7 and 8 up to fully fledged adults, added depth and dynamic to the class. None more so than the school song where the two groups, through prison gates warned the audience and Matilda of the horrors of Ms Trenchbull.

James Millar’s Ms Trenchbull was spectacular. She was hilarious, ridiculous and absolutely despicable. From the moment she turned to face the audience with her overshadowing bosom, conspicuous mole and said the school motto “all children are maggots” the audience she would be terrifying, but with Ms Trenchbull’s flair whilst despising children it was impossible to hate her.

Aligned to Roald Dahl’s vision, the casting of each character was meticulously captured in the minute details from Mr. Wormwood’s (Daniel Frederiksen) thin ratty moustache, Mrs. Wormwood’s (Kay Murphy) dance routines to the hard, obedient, grey school uniform forced upon each child.

The set itself looked like a Scrabble set was let loose in a library. The square blocks and letters were composed like weaving together a dream fed more into the mind of Matilda.

Scrabble set on the loose! Photo by Jessica Suo.

The songs crossed multiple musical genres, played with linguistic Olympics and suited every character perfectly. This is only capable of a true creative mastermind and THAT is Tim Minchin.

My only criticism would be the way the musical portrayed the relationship between Ms. Honey and Matilda. The book tells of a strong and unifying friendship and love that develops; one that defies ridicule and scorn. The theatrical performance tells a slightly different tale. Although a relationship develops it felt sudden and a little uncomfortable, the way Matilda dominated Ms. Honey. This, however, could not detract from how magical the show really was.

It is impossible to sum up this show in words; its beauty and excitement can only be experienced. Irresistible. Delectable. Sheer genius.


Matilda the Musical will run until 22nd October 2017 at The Civic, Auckland. Click here to grab your tickets!


JESSICA SUO is an Auckland-based concert photographer studying at the University of Auckland. Lover of music, film and of course photography. Chasing a dream of touring the world with a band she loves. See some more of her work:

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