Oklahoma’s Christmas present: “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical”


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The students at Matilda’s school celebrate in the song “Revolting Children.”

Kelsi Seltenreich, Managing Editor

After a long wait audiences around the world are learning that “Even if you’re little you can do a lot” thanks to the recently released “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical.”

The film centers around brilliant young Matilda Wormwood (Alisha Weir). Matilda faces intense emotional abuse at home and is delighted when she learns she will be starting school at Crunchem Hall. When she enters on her first day she is greeted by other students with “School Song,” and it is made clear that headmistress Agatha Trunchbull (Emma Thompson) has made Crunchem Hall more of a boot camp than a school. On Matilda’s first day of class, her teacher Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch) is impressed to learn that Matilda has read many adult-level novels all within a week, in addition to reading “The Cat in the Hat.”

Honey gathers the courage to ask Trunchbull to move Matilda up with the 11-year-olds because of her incredible mind, but Trunchbull refuses and reminds Honey of the school motto: ‘Bambinatum est Maggitum,’ which is Latin for ‘Children are Maggots.’ Throughout the film, Matilda and those around her are continually belittled, but she keeps going by using her telepathic powers to fight for what is right.

The movie musical differed from the stage musical in many ways. Matilda’s older brother Michael was completely eliminated from the story as were three of the songs. “Pathetic” was likely cut for time, and “Telly” simply doesn’t make sense on the screen because it directly addresses the audience. But “Loud” being cut from the movie seems to contribute to the emphasis on the drama that the film created. “Loud” is overflowing with humor as Matilda’s mother ballroom dances with an eliminated character from the movie, Rudolpho.

Instead of being full of humor, this movie focused more on raw emotion which made the story feel more real. There were still moments of laughter, but they were far less in number than in the stage musical. As someone that has performed in the stage musical, I missed my favorite moments of laughter, but I also appreciated the new focus on the main message.

The film’s choreography was very interesting and fun to watch, especially in “Revolting Children.” The students dancing through the hallway to that song even started a TikTok trend.

The new movie was released to theaters on Nov. 25 in the U.K. and Ireland and was released to select U.S. theaters on Dec. 9, but not every state showed the movie. Due to this, viewers in Oklahoma along with many other states had to wait to see the film until its release to Netflix on Dec. 25. This wait was frustrating, but it did bring more anticipation which made finally watching the movie that much sweeter.

There is an alternate issue across the ocean in the U.K. and Ireland because while they could see the film in theaters sooner than the U.S., it won’t be released to their Netflix until the summer of 2023. This is the result of Netflix and Sony Pictures coming to an agreement on the release of the film. I expected this to cause a lot of confusion, but it wasn’t as big of an issue as expected.

While the wait was long, it was very worth it for fans of Roald Dahl’s book, the first “Matilda” movie in 1996, the stage musical and even people that are brand new to Matilda’s story.

Contact Kelsi Seltenreich at [email protected]