(Charles Spencer’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 11/25.)

When it came to deciding which production should receive the prize for best musical at the Evening Standard Drama Awards this year, there was virtually no debate among the judges. It was crystal clear that the statuette should go to the RSC’s hilarious, moving and magical production of Matilda.

The show has now finally arrived in the West End, where I suspect it will delight audiences for years to come, as well as crossing the Atlantic to conquer Broadway, too. It is the best new British musical since Billy Elliot.

The show begins with a chorus of endearing kids singing a song called Miracle, and there is indeed something miraculous about the show.

Dennis Kelly, who has adapted Roald Dahl’s famous story for the stage, has previously been responsible for some of the most violent and depressing plays I have ever endured. Here, in a spectacular transformation, he has discovered joy, humour and tenderness, and his script actually improves and deepens Dahl’s original.


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