I was probably the most excited to see Ms. Trunchbull. I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you that this formidable female is portrayed by a male actor. There is a strong tradition for this in the British theatre, so it makes a lot of sense to me that this original British production went there with a character like Trunchbull. So while Matilda is the title character (a role shared by four young actresses, each taking 2 performances a week), it was Bertie Carvel's award-winning performance I was most anxious to experience.
I will say I wasn't certain about this show until the second act. Don't get me wrong, the performances are strong and the choreography is breath-taking, but by the time we got to intermission, I just wasn't sure this show was for me. As is often the case, the stage show is definitely in the spirit of the novel rather than to the letter of the text. And that's OK! But not every show is for every person and I kind of thought this one might just be a miss for me. But the second act begins with a song by Mr. Wormwood (Gabriel Ebert - definitely my new theatre crush) that put a huge smile on my face which was not dislodged until I was fighting the foot traffic in Times Square afterward. I felt like the first act was all about set-ups and then the entire second act was pay-off after pay-off and I LOVED it. Carvel's Trunchbull was definitely a much more layered character than we get in the book, and while it took me some getting used to, it was fascinating to watch and still deliciously satisfying to hate (and he has quite the set of gams as well).
If you are a lover of Dahl, children's theatre, cool new musicals, or like me, all of the above, make sure you make it to this show. I have a feeling it'll be around for a while, but definitely this is a cast worth seeing, so get on it. In fact, the only person I have hesitation in recommending this show to is actually my own mother because every child in this show has crazy messy hair and I don't know if she'll be able to handle it, but it'll be good for her - so go!