Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical leaps onto Cineworld screens this November. Want to celebrate the spirit and bravado of some truly revolting children? Now's your chance with this eagerly awaited adaptation of Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly's stage smash, which has wowed audiences in the West End and also on Broadway.
Get up to speed with some classic Roald Dahl creations in our all-star character rundown.
1. Matilda Wormwood
Played by Alisha Weir
Roald Dahl's hero is a telekinetic brainbox who is leagues ahead of most of the adults in her life. Despised by her parents and preyed on by the fearsome Crunchem Hall headmistress the Trunchbull, Matilda must locate her inner strength.
A bookworm from a young age, Matilda outwits her obnoxious parents purely on the basis of academic knowledge and intelligence. However, the Trunchbull is a different matter altogether, compelling Matilda to unlock the ability to move objects with her mind.
Matilda is played by Irish screen newcomer Alisha Weir. She was handpicked for the role when she was 11 and throws herself into the movie's rambunctious song and dance sequences, including the poignant 'When I Grow Up/'
Posting on Instagram in January 2021, Alisha wrote: 'I am delighted to be playing the role of ‘Matilda’ in Matilda the movie musical which will be on Netflix. 'I am so excited to get started !!! Thank you so much to everyone for all your nice comments. I am so happy.'
2. Agatha Trunchbull
Played by Emma Thompson
National treasure Emma Thompson isn't best known for playing villains. Instead, she tends to err on the side of tender, whether it's Jane Austen adaptation Sense and Sensibility (which she also wrote to Oscar-winning effect), or that heartbreaking scene in Richard Curtis Christmas rom-com Love, Actually.
However, Thompson doubles down on the cackling villainy in Matilda. Her portrayal of the ferocious, intimidating Crunchem head Agatha Trunchbull has been singled out by several reviewers. The Trunchbull's hatred of children reaches its apex when Matilda starts the new term at Crunchem, setting in motion an epic showdown.
Writes Guy Lodge in Variety: "Relishing a role conventionally played in drag on stage, hulking into each of her scenes with enhanced arms akimbo, Thompson is entirely a scream, whether throwing herself into grand-scale slapstick or putting a snide, venomous spin on kid-targeted putdowns like, 'He should have thought of that before he made a pact with Satan.'
"If that sounds less funny written down, Thompson’s eccentric physical and verbal tics provide the bulk of the laughs in an adaptation that goes light on Dahl’s more raucous humor."
3. Miss Honey
Played by Lashana Lynch
The sweet-natured Crunchem flipside to the Trunchbull's tyranny, Miss Honey is a ray of light in Matilda's life. She encourages her pupils in their learning and forms a deep-seated bond with Matilda, becoming in many ways a surrogate parent.
That said, even the radiant Miss Honey has skeletons in the closet, which pertain to her relationship with the Trunchbull. In the movie, Miss Honey is played by No Time To Die and The Woman King star Lashana Lynch.
4. Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood
Played by Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough
Matilda's appalling parents provide much of the movie's comic relief. The Wormwoods are TV addicts and wouldn't know a book if it hit them in the face, which causes no end of tension with their daughter.
Luckily, Matilda has enough gumption to get her own back, whether it's dying her father's hair green or causing his hat to get super-glued to his head.
Acclaimed British actors Stephen Graham (This is England) and Andrea Riseborough (The Death of Stalin) tear into the roles of the outsized parents with palpable glee.
Can't wait to see these classic creations on the big screen? Click here to book your tickets for Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical, opening at Cineworld on November 25.