Interview: Matilda The Musical’s Matthew Warchus and Dennis Kelly on their “little warrior”


What could easily be the big Christmas musical for 2022 arrives in cinemas this week. Matilda The Musical, which opened the London Film Festival last month, bursts onto screens with all the energy and colour you would expect. And some impressive super powers.

The highly intelligent Matilda (Alisha Weir) spends a lot of her time escaping her dreadful parents by retreating to the world of books. They’re more interested in trash TV and dodgy money-making, so they send her off to Crunchem Hall to be educated – after a fashion. The grim establishment is ruled over by the villainous Miss Trunchbull (Emma Thompson) but, among all the bullying and cruelty, there’s some hope – the inspirational Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch) who, with some of the other children, encourages Matilda to stand up for what she believes is right.

In the interview below, director Matthew Warchus and writer Dennis Kelly – both of whom worked on the original stage show – discuss the appeal of telling a story about the girl they describe as “a little warrior” and why there’s a David and Goliath side to the story. Warchus also talks about the appeal of her super powers for today’s audiences, and the two describe how many of the adult actors – Lashana Lynch, especially –  were attracted to their roles because they took them into new territory.

Matilda The Musical is released in cinemas today 25th November |Read our review of the film.