Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical review – immensely enjoyable reworking of the stage hit

Matthew Warchus adapts his hugely successful stage musical adaptation (music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, book by Dennis Kelly) of Roald Dahl’s Matilda for the big screen. And he uses the full eye-popping scope of cinema to ensure that the film entirely escapes its theatrical origins. With its peppy colour palette and cartoonish quality, there’s a kinship with the appealingly stylised, hyperreal quality of the Paddington films in this version of Matilda, which follows a previous (1996) non-musical film version of the book, directed by Danny DeVito.

Production design aside, highlights include the very assured Alisha Weir in the title role and a game Emma Thompson sporting tombstone dentures and military fatigues as a monstrous version of Miss Trunchbull. At nearly two hours in length, it’s slightly overstretched and could probably have lost a musical number or two. Still, this is immensely enjoyable stuff.