Having been seen by nine million people around the world and received 94 international awards, Matilda The Musical is finally coming to Scotland for the first time this week.
Anticipation is high for the four-week production, which is based on the much-loved story by Roald Dahl, and two of its stars say it’s as much fun to be a part of as it is to watch.
Veteran stage performers Sebastien Torkia and Rebecca Thornhill play Matilda’s evil parents, Mr and Mrs Wormwood, in the show at Edinburgh Playhouse.
“We’re having an absolute ball,” smiled Sebastien. “It’s a brilliant character and I can bring everything I have to the role.
“I come from a dance background and I can be physical in this role. I also get to sing. There is so much going on.
“Mr Wormwood is a bad dad. It’s always fun to play the baddie, but there’s also humour and slapstick to the role.”
Rebecca said: “Everyone loves to play the bad guy and we have a great chemistry together. We bounce off each other and the audience can be very reactive.”
Sebastien continued: “It’s the sort of role that doesn’t come along very often and it’s incredibly good fun.
“When I was offered this role, I didn’t realise it would be for 18 months and I was daunted at first. I wondered how I would do the same character for all that time.
“But as soon as rehearsals started the feeling disappeared and I’m sad we only have four venues left.”
Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.
Four young actors will take turns to play the role in Edinburgh and performing opposite a different Matilda each night brings another dimension to the show for Rebecca.
“Some Matildas give us a very stern telling-off in the show, while others are very precise in their delivery, but we just go with the flow,” she said. “Usually the actors are in the 10-12 age group, but the youngest we’ve ever had was eight. She’s come back to the show now, and is 10.”
Australian comedian and musician Tim Minchin wrote the music and lyrics for the show.
“Tim didn’t write it for kids. He wrote it for adults, but the kids love it,” Rebecca said. “The kids watch the other kids on stage and think, ‘I want to do that’.”
Sebastien continued: “It’s a show adults will enjoy just as much as, if not more than, kids. A lot of the witticisms go over the head of the little children.
“There’s a general misconception that Matilda is just for children, but it’s as rewarding for grown-ups.
“It reminds us of our youth or the children inside us all.”
The colourful costumes and larger-than-life sets leave the audiences wide-eyed.
“We’re very lucky, and audiences around the country are lucky, too, because this is not a pared-down version from the London production. It’s not been scrimped on for the tour,” Sebastien said. “It’s incredibly detailed and clever. We can’t wait to bring the show to Edinburgh and we’re a bit sad that we’re only there for four weeks.”
Roald Dahl’s children’s stories have been a rich seam for theatre. Other adaptations include The BFG and James And The Giant Peach.
Matilda The Musical, Edinburgh Playhouse, Tuesday until April 27