When we were planning our trip to London a few weeks ago, we were also looking for what musicals would be on and what we would like to see. I really wanted to see Matilda (although I could name at least four more shows I would really like to see, too) and we thought it might be a good choice because my youngest brother had read the novel at school (in German) and would thus roughly know what was going on even if he didn’t understand every word during the show. It wasn’t too easy to find tickets that were affordable for a family of five but I kept looking at the ticket pages of What’s On Stage, West End Frame and the Matilda website itself every day and the evening before our flight we managed to find and subsequently book five tickets à £25. I don’t know whether I had simply not seen those tickets before or if they maybe had been returned but we were very happy and the decision to go see Matilda (we would have probably chosen „Wicked“ otherwise) was then very easily made.
We booked four tickets for the Upper Circle Row K (K1-K4) and one ticket in the very last row of the theatre (M15). I went to sit „alone“ in Row M but that wasn’t a problem at all since you would not normally talk to your sitting neighbours anyway so it doesn’t really matter where you sit and who sits next to you, does it? In fact, I quite liked sitting in the last row because I could lean forward or back whenever I wanted to and would not disturb anyone.
We were perfectly happy with our seats. The Cambridge Theatre is a wonderful theatre and from where we were sitting you could see every part of it quite well. When booking seats in this price bracket you are of course quite far away from the stage but we didn’t mind. There were no obstacles and we could basically see every part of the stage, even better when sometimes leaning forward a bit.
Blurry picture from where I sat – taken during the interval, of course. For a better view from different seats around the theatre, click here.
Now, what’s the most important thing about a musical? The story. The performers. The music. I for once already knew the story and the soundtrack of Matilda quite well and was also acquainted with a few bits of the scenery and choreography like the „Revolting Children“ and „When I Grow Up“ parts from various YouTube videos. Still, I was totally engrossed in the show from the first note to the last. Seeing a show live on stage is just something completely different. The acting and singing of every single actor was simply on point. Our Matilda was Emily-May Stephenson and the rest of my family was even more impressed by her when I told them afterwards that she’s only nine years old and has only started her run as Matilda in January. She was quite frankly brilliant and so very professional. (Just saying though that I’m very sure the other three Matildas are just as good.) The rest of the children were equally amazing – Lavender (Ynez Williams) getting many „awws“ and giggles from the audience whenever she pointed out that she was Matilda’s best friend.
Of course, the adults blew me away as well. If I was a child, I’d definitely be frightened by Craige Els‘ Trunchbull but what superb acting, singing and gymnastics from him. The Wormwoods were hilarious – I normally already get the giggles only listening to „Telly“ but seeing it acted out on stage was priceless. Miss Honey was lovely and „My House“ had me in tears – again, I already knew this beautiful song but it’s different when you actually see someone singing and performing it. Maybe the biggest „surprise“ for me was Mrs. Phelps because I never really noticed her before – probably because she doesn’t have a song on her own. I absolutely loved her and would definitely go to her library just to have a chat with her every once in a while.
The only thing I was a bit worried about beforehand in regard to our seats was the sound. But I soon found out there was no reason at all to worry. Even in the very last row, the sound was perfect. The music was very clear and we could understand every single word (apart from a very few sentences I didn’t quite catch but I’m pretty sure that’s more to do with me being a non-native speaker of English and the accent of Mrs. Phelps and the Wormwoods and not at all to do with the sound in the theatre or the diction of the actors).
I enjoyed the show immensely and am now even more in love with Matilda, if that’s even possible. Lots of respect and a big thank you to everyone who works there – from the people at the box office and the staff to the musicians, to all performers and everyone behind the scenes – for such great work and a wonderful experience.
If you get a chance to see this show, then go! And if you’re not sure about the cost of the tickets – not everyone can afford to pay a few hundred pounds for one night out, especially when going with a bigger family- I can only encourage you to look out for tickets in the lower price brackets because they are absolutely worth their money. You’re not missing out on anything when sitting in the Upper Circle and towards the back of the theatre – you may not be able to see the actors‘ faces but you don’t have to because the acting, singing and music comes across even when you don’t see the facial expressions. If Matilda isn’t a „must see“-show, then I don’t know what is.
(Need even more of an incentive? Then here’s Emily-May performing „Naughty“ at Trafalgar Square during West End Live last Sunday:)