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Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda The Musical’ Review | A Whimsical Delight

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Matilda The Musical was MAGICAL!, MISCHIEVOUS!, MIRACULOUS!,& MAGNIFICENT! Director Matthew Warchus splendiferously brings the WHIMSICAL! World of Roald Dahl to life alongside fantastical musical numbers from Tim Minchin showcases the power of Storytelling!

Matilda Wormwood (Alisha Weir) is a little girl with a big curiosity, a sharp mind and a vivid imagination – and the worst parents in the world. While her parents (Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough) content themselves with trashy TV and dodgy money-making schemes, she loves to lose herself in the pages of her beloved books. Where they are loud, selfish and unkind, she is a quiet observer, thinking up small and cheeky acts of rebellion and revenge. On Meeting her inspirational teacher, Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch), Matilda is encouraged and begins conjuring her own fantastical tales. Excited to attend Crunchem Hall, Matilda is surprised to find the school is an ominous and oppressive place led by the huge and villainous Miss Trunchbull (Emma Thompson).

As well as the kind Miss Honey, the bright lights among the meanness are story-loving librarian Mrs Phelps (Sindhu Vee), and Matilda’s new-found school friends. Filled with an overwhelming sense of justice, Matilda dares to take a stand for what is right and teach the Trunchbull a lesson she won’t forget.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. Cr. Dan Smith/Netflix © 2022

Review

Bringing Matilda’s magic to the silver screen

“Matilda The Musical” has been brought to the silver screen by the man who won the Olivier and was nominated for the Tony in regards to the stage adaptation of the critically acclaimed musical, which premiered in 2010. Director Matthew Warchus showcases the power of the underdog and how any one of us might tackle the things that oppress us, the film carries a strong moral core about righting wrongs. The musical itself written by Dennis Kelly is so energetic, witty, and reminiscent of Dahl, it’s joyful and exhilaratingly magical as it translates from stage to screen. And after the successful theatrical experience, the film excitingly goes even further by exploring and delving deeper into Roald Dahl’s fantastical world bringing us into Matilda’s home, the circus, and throughout the hallowed walls of Crunchem Hall.

Matilda as a character to many readers is unique and inspirational and throughout the story, she’s there to help other people and change the world for the better. She is a survivor and an amazingly strong person because she is immensely brave. She stands up to people much bigger, much older, and much more physically powerful than she is. Of course, it’s a story in which the victories achieved by this unexpected hero are through the force of her brain power. This is a story that bigs up intelligence.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. (L to R) Meesha Garbett as Hortensia, Charlie Hodson-Prior as Bruce Bogtrotter in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. Cr. Dan Smith/Netflix © 2022

“Matilda The Musical” appeals to young and old audiences because of its whimsy wickedness and Dahl’s ability to create a colourful cast of characters. Casting these iconic roles was certainly an incredible feat as a star is born in Alisha Weir who portrays the titular character in her very first feature film production. Weir has a sense of maturity and can be a little bit naughty when she needs to be, she is an enigmatic character and for quite a lot of the story, she is quite earnest and unchildlike. When her parents are cruel, she is strong, she gets back up again. She knows she isn’t going to be with them for the rest of her life but for the bits that she is, she is going to show them that you can’t go around treating people badly, they need to be taught a lesson, Matilda is so determined that If she wants something, she’ll get it and she’ll do it.

Mr & Mrs Wormwood played charismatically by Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough act as if their basically children, they don’t see their daughter, they are very self-centred and egotistical their primary concern is making and spending money, often in a rather dubious and dishonest fashion, whilst Mrs Wormwood’s obsession for ballroom dancing seems to be her only real passion in life.. Matilda is at best an inconvenience to them and at worst someone to compete with.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. Cr. Dan Smith/Netflix © 2022

Miss Honey, portrayed by Lashana Lynch, is the emotional centre of the story and Lynch truly carries the role beautifully as everyone’s favourite teacher. She is someone who made a difference and when audiences come to this story, they are immediately on Miss Honey’s side, they value her immensely. In this particular story, she has a complicated and bruising backstory and the more that comes to light the more we realise she is a wounded healer. She has made a great deal of surviving on her own and helping the children that come through her classroom but not far below the surface, she is scarred and damaged. Matilda sees that and they see it in each other, that is their common ground and it creates a bond between them and makes them soul mates. She shares both incredible chemistry with Weir and Thompson who portrays the ruthless and fromiddbale Headmistress.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. Cr. Dan Smith/Netflix © 2022

Emma Thompson’s portrayal of the outrageous Headmistress Miss Trunchbull is absolutely scene-stealing. Thompson brings a threatening presence to her performance showcasing a serious back story that is important and gives a reason for the way she behaves whilst also providing some of the films gags and whimsical silliness. Trunchbull is the adversary Matilda deserves, our little hero has to overcome a real threat, a real monstrous power and Dahl describes her perfectly in the book saying “She’s a merciless and imposing character”.

Thompson’s physical transformation into the over-sized bully with a penchant for cruel and scary punishments was certain striking. Prosthetics were used to create the menacing presence alongside her costume which includes a belt of frightful tools, there is an air of desperation around her. Her singing is also impressive with Tim Minchin’s music and lyrics beautifully match Dahl’s tone. ” The Smell of Rebellion” and “The Hammer” are my favourite musical numbers in the production and Thompson delivers each note with Trunchbull’s psychotic madness.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. Cr. Dan Smith/Netflix © 2022

Musical Masterpiece

Tim Minchin’s music and lyrics were a treat throughout, his work is completely genius as every character’s song have their own personalities and there is not one lyric, note or inflection that doesn’t match what the character is feeling at every given moment. The lyrics speak for themselves as every song embuded with energy has a different style, cadence, tone and tempo. The dialogue truly blends seamlessly with the start of each song. Every song complements the text, the characters and the world of Matilda. Minchin an incredibly gifted composer and lyrist actually tried to get the rights to Matilda back in 2000 speaking of Roald Dahl and Matilda Minchin says that “Matilda is everything I want in a hero: resilient, brilliant, morally-driven, and a total book nerd! She stands up to bullies on behalf of those she loves. And she forgives people who have done her wrong.”

He worked closely on the songs and their placement with both Warchus and writer Dennis Kelly as well as with the “music supervisor, orchestrator, and eventual co-composer Chris Nightingale.” His soutrack embodies hope, empathy, and imagination and each track can make you laugh and cry, especially a new song written for the film “Still Holding My Hand”.

“My House” is another emotional song sung by Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch) throughout the song she is also being incredibly vulnerable in front of this young child. At the start of the film, we see all the negativity and trauma and pain coming to the surface. We learn that she is lying to herself and convincing herself that she’s okay, which is very relatable. 

The film also boasts incredible choreography with over 230 children dancing and singing. The children are doing amazing things in this movie and are absolutely incredible, special mentions go too Winter Jarrett-Glasspool, Ashton Robertson, Rei Yamauchi Fulker, and Andrei Shen. “Matilda The Musical” truly brings to the screen a sense of wonder, spectacle, and a stage production that’s leaped onto the screen.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. Charlie Hodson-Prior as Bruce Bogtrotter in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. Cr. Dan Smith/Netflix © 2022

Roald Dahl’s “Matilda The Musical” encourages viewers to tell stories and use their minds in fantastical ways, after all that what Dahl’s stories celebrate, the incredible potential of young people and the power of kindness, his fantastical words leap onto the screen as does Quentin Blake’s illustrations. The character of Mrs. Phelps played by Sindhu Vee showcase that Matilda and her are kindred spirits in their love of reading and of stories and the worlds they can inhabit, away from their own, through both. It helps that Matilda is quite a mature child and Mrs. Phelps is quite a child-like adult, Its the perfect match.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. Cr. Dan Smith/Netflix © 2022

Final Thoughts

Overall Roald Dahl’s “Matilda The Musical” is an inspirational musical tale of an extraordinary girl who discovers her superpower and summons the remarkable courage, against all odds,to help others change their stories,while also taking care of her own destiny & Standing up for what’s right!

Netflix will release the film across the world this holiday season. Sony Pictures UK and Tristar Pictures have exclusively released the film now in cinemas in the UK and Ireland.

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First Look The Witcher: Season 4

The journey continues. Here’s your first look at Liam Hemsworth as Geralt of Rivia.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Drama

Release Date:

Netflix 2024

Creator:

Lauren Schmidt Hissrich

Cast:

Liam Hemsworth, Freya Allan, Anya Chalotra

Plot Summary:

The journey continues. Here’s your first look at Liam Hemsworth as Geralt of Rivia.

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Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 Review: Have They Lost Their Spark?

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Sam Phillips as Lord Debling, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton

Dearest gentle reader, Lady Whistledown is back for another Bridgerton season, and this time for her own love story (the ton doesn’t need to know). Classy as ever, Bridgerton Season 3 focuses primarily on Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton’s characters Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton as they take their friendship to another level.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton

What is Bridgerton Season 3 About?

After focusing on Daphne and Anthony Bridgerton in the first and second seasons, the story is now following Colin Bridgerton’s story with the girl next door. Penelope was many things for Colin but never a love interest. She was his sister’s best friend, a girl next door, a friend, and someone who had a crush on him. It’s no secret for the viewers that Penelope had a huge crush on Colin for years, but our girl finally feels ready to move on and get her life together. She is now in search of a husband after getting her heart broken in the last season.

What Stole the Show?

Apart from Nicola Coughlan getting the most deserving highlight, Netflix did their fan service and gave more screen time to now-extremely popular Benedict Bridgerton. Benedict Bridgerton has always been one of the fan favorite characters but after this season he has certainly got a huge following. Luke Thompson’s charms deserve to be studied in a university. He seems to be people’s new crush and I don’t blame them! The beautifully written dialogues are as usual top notch.

Bridgerton is famous for many reasons, including its orchestral remix of popular songs. This season Pitbull’s ‘Give Me Everything’ is in the limelight as one doesn’t expect such an iconic party song to sound so classy. Huge kudos to the makeup and costume department for carrying the show with its theme gracefully. They certainly grasped the attention and enhanced the characters of the show.

Benedict Bridgerton and Lady Tilley Arnold

Benedict Bridgerton and Lady Tilley Arnold

What’s Bothering Us in The Show?

The scripting of the show seems rushed. It lacks the spice, passion, and the slow burn romance that defines a Bridgerton story. Colin’s character has been poorly developed this time. After being sidelined for the last two seasons this one was supposed to make him the knight in shining armor, but he rather lacks the character. He tries to help Penelope only because he feels guilty for insulting and hurting her. Later on, he ruins her chance with a great suitor only because he feels jealous for not having her. He acts like a child who wants his toy back as soon as some other child starts playing with it. He misses Penelope’s attention after seeing her happy with someone else who wants to marry her. Some may call it ‘true love’ but I believe it’s too immature and childish thing to do for a Bridgerton character. Nothing against Luke Newton but his character development is not helping the show.

Apart from lacking the slow-build and passionate love story, the show seems to have forgotten about Daphne and Simon Basset (played by Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page) completely. Anthony and Kate Bridgerton (played by Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley) appear in one episode and are not even mentioned in the rest.

Nicola Coughlan – The Show’s Star

Nicola Coughlan is shining brighter than any star in the sky. Both Nicola and Penelope are role models for body positivity. Young girls and women across the globe highly relate to Penelope and seeing her accepting herself, being comfortable in her own skin, and getting a complete makeover to feel more like herself is bound to create a positive wave among the fans. Unlike the last two Seasons, the Third Season is also focusing on other characters of the show as well, as it creates branches and stories for potential upcoming seasons. Yet, no one and nothing shines in front of Nicola Coughlan as she wears her crown with grace.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington

Is It Better Than Last Two Seasons?

Each Bridgerton story has its unique charm that keeps our eyes glued to the screens. Some love Season 1, others like Season 2, and the rest prefer Season 3 but is it better than the last two? Probably not. Nothing can beat Season 1! As much as the show focuses on the ‘Friends to Lovers’ storyline, it lacks the true essence of romance and no, I’m not talking about the spiciness even though they severely lack to give us butterflies. Polin’s storyline sometimes gives us butterflies but not as much as previous seasons did. The groundwork for the couple was laid since the first season yet they are not coming as strong and passionate as expected.

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 is currently available to stream on Netflix. Part 2 will be released on June 13.

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Drama

Netflix’s Damsel: Millie Bobby Brown’s Medicore Fantasy Drama Fails Angela Bassett and Robin Wright

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Robin Wright, Millie Bobby Brown and Angela Basett in Netflix's Damsel

Netflix’s latest 109-minute original movie, starring Millie Bobby Brown, unfortunately fails to conquer its audience. The twisted dark fairy tale turns into a fantasy survival thriller as the “damsel in distress” faces betrayal and hardships. Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and written by Dan Mazeau, Damsel offers a beautiful concept with a weak story.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The opening narration of the movie, “There are many stories of chivalry where the heroic knight saves the damsel in distress. This is not one of them,” sets the tone of the movie as Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown) was ‘sold’ to another kingdom as a bride only to be betrayed by her husband soon after getting married. Hurt, alone, and frightened, the protagonist soon learns that she has been ‘sacrificed’ for the benefit of the kingdom to a dragon. Survival seems hard for the princess as she comes across the dangers of the majestic creature. Brown’s character soon finds out that she is not the first to be sacrificed. Several brides like her have been thrown away for generations like a stick thrown to a dog.

Damsel offers an unusual and strong concept with captivating visuals and cinematography. The traditional classy costumes and rich makeup style match the theme well. As usual, the Stranger Things star offered outstanding dialogue delivery with expectational expressions.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

As much as Millie Bobby Brown’s magnificent performance needs to be applauded one cannot help but notice the waste of fine talents. Yes, we’re talking about multiple award winners, veteran actresses Angela Bassett and Robin Wright, who are highly recognized talents out in the world, famous for their spectacular roles in multiple critically acclaimed projects. Brown’s heavy presence leaves no room for Bassett and Wright to shine. It leaves other actors such as Ray Winstone, Nick Robinson, and Brooke Carter far out from the spotlight.

Damsel includes some heart-wrenching action scenes along with many emotional turning points that make Elodie question her life. She is living in fear, facing betrayal, figuring things out, and most importantly, trying to survive all alone in a dark cave. The bland dialogues in between disrupt the flow of the movie, but the rushed conclusion lashes all hopes to the ground! All the buildup was quickly washed away as the movie ends cursory.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The period movie challenges patriarchy, inequality, and gender roles. The protagonist Princess Elodie is an open-minded, strong, progressive-thinking character who can do anything for her people – even if it means giving up her dreams and life in an arranged marriage. The women in the movie are bold, strong, rational, and, protective. It is only fitting that Netflix’s Damsel was released on International Women’s Day as the distressed damsel shows she needs no man in shining armor to protect her from the dangers present in the world. She is a brave, daring, sharp-minded young woman who takes revenge and expresses power when it was needed. Game of Thrones may have set a standard for dragons, but this one is no less. We’re sure Khaleesi would be proud of Elodie!

Damsel is available to stream on Netflix.

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