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Words: Belinda Mountain Images: Manuel Harlan/Royal Shakespeare Company

Roald Dahl’s enduringly popular tale was turned into a musical that first showed in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2010 and has since won over 85 international awards. Touring across the world, the show has been wowing Joburg audiences since 17 October and will be on at the Artscape from 11 December to 13 January. We spoke to Dean Roberts, publicist at Pieter Toerien Productions, about what makes it quite so special.

What do you think it is about the Matilda story that so appeals to young children?

The story has appealed to readers for 30 years as it’s penned by Roald Dahl, and his stories are genius: he writes for a sharp brain who listens to witty word play. Matilda is one of his triumphs as it fosters the reader’s will to be themselves, to defeat the bully and tackle the oppressor. Children want to feel heard and seen, and this story of Matilda reinforces that fact that it’s okay to be yourself and find your own magic.

What age group is the show suitable for?

The show is suitable for children six years old and up. It’s the fastest two hours of your life as the show just builds at such a pace. There are many generous payoffs in terms of song and dance numbers, with some incredible surprises from start to finish – that’s why it’s being called the musical of the decade.

Tell us more about the three girls playing Matilda: Lilla Fleischmann, Kitty Harris and Morgan Santo.

Lilla has played Gretl in The Sound Of Music 2014, Annie in Annie 2016/17 South African tour and Brigitta in the return season of The Sound Of Music 2018. Morgan was in Evita 2017 and 2018, and this is the talented Kitty’s first show.

These three actresses are accompanied by Ryan de Villers as Miss Trunchbull and Bethany Dickson as Matilda’s devoted teacher Miss Honey. Stephen Jubber and Claire Taylor play Mr and Mrs Wormwood and the loveable librarian, Mrs Phelps is played by Nompumelelo Mayiyane. Says Mia Gordon (9), who saw the show in Joburg: “I loved the singing, music and dancing. I also loved Miss Trunchbull because she was funny but also scary.”
So it seems that whatever your age, it sounds like you’re in for a treat.

Matilda The Musical | Computicket:

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