The 1996 film of the Roald Dahl Matilda is my 7-year-old daughter’s favorite movie, and in the first 10 minutes of “Matilda the Musical” on Broadway, both she and I knew that this is going be a hit! The clever lyrics, percussive movement, and glowing, alphabet block set captivated us. Also, there is the empowering message that you can create your own destiny.
The new characters that have been added absolutely enhance the story.Two faves include Rudolpho, Mrs. Wormwood’s slick and slimy ballroom-dance partner who slithers and undulates across the stage, and the all-knowing librarian, who listens uncritically to the 5-year-old Matilda’s stories. The most exciting, twisted, and hilarious performance of all is Bertie Carvel in drag as the tyrant headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Surprisingly, children are not frightened by his stern and wicked portrayal. I refuse to divulge more, but he’s a scream in the phys ed number.
Our Matilda (four actresses play her) looked the part, but seemed more a film than stage actor. It was difficult to understand her British accent. (She may improve with practice—this was a preview.) Bravo, Royal Shakespeare Company! We had to get the brilliant soundtrack, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, and can’t stop listening to it. Her favorite? Telly,sung by Mr. Wormwood, who proudly learned everything he knows from the telly.
Around Café Un Deux Trois (One Two Three) are plenty of intimate, red banquettes, tall mirrors, chandeliers, and a romantic bar for late at night. A brunch menu makes it a pre-matinee destination on weekends. It doesn’t keep white place mats and crayons on the table for children specifically, but that and its noise level (because of high ceilings) make it a place where a child can feel perfectly comfortable.
The weekday lunch prix fixe includes a much-ordered daily soup and a made-in-house rustic pâté served with celeriac salad on radicchio. Apart from too much tilapia on the menu, there are steak frites, moules frites, a creamy Quiche Lorraine, and other French bistro fare, as well as le burger and a choice of salads (which many restaurants have done away with, replacing anything sandwich- and salad-like with the high-priced scourge “small plates”). It’s probably nobody’s favorite restaurant, but achieves its status from being around so long that practically everybody has a memory of a kiss in one of those banquettes.