Entertainment & Arts

Matilda's 'marvellous' Broadway debut hailed by critics

Matilda the Musical
Image caption Matilda the Musical written by Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly received rave reviews from the American press after its opening night

Matilda the Musical has been praised by critics for its "marvellous" opening night on Broadway in New York.

The Roald Dahl adaptation was called "the best family musical in years" in the Chicago Tribune's review.

The New York Times said the production from the Royal Shakespeare Company was "the most satisfying and subversive musical ever to come out of Britain".

The musical, written by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin, was a "blast of nasty fun" according to the Associated Press.

"It would be easy to call it the best British musical since Billy Elliot, but that, I'm afraid, would be underselling it," said Richard Zoglin in TIME Magazine.

"You have to go back to The Lion King to find a show with as much invention, spirit and genre-re-defining verve," Zoglin wrote in his review.

Led by British director Matthew Warchus, the production was not changed for an American audience - a risk that the Financial Times said paid off.

"This production offers a marvellous escape from the usual Broadway-musical fare," Brendan Lemon said in the FT review.

Most of the roles were re-cast for the Broadway show but each of the four actresses playing Matilda were trained to speak with a British accent.

Actor Bertie Carvel, who received high praise for his performance as the tyrannical headmistress Miss Trunchbull in the West End, has transferred to play the role in New York.

He has now received critical acclaim from American reviewers for his "deliciously malevolent" performance, which was a "seismic force" according to the Chicago Tribune.

The musical was an "edge-of-the-seats nail biter" according to the Ben Brantley in the New York Times, who likened it to a season-finale episode of terrorist drama Homeland.

The West End production broke records last year, winning seven Olivier Awards including the youngest recipient for 10-year-old Eleanor Worthington-Cox. She shared the best actress in a musical award with the three other young stars that shared the title role.

It has been nominated again this year and is up against Billy Elliot the Musical, The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked for the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award - the only Olivier voted for by the public.

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