Late great author Roald Dahl once wrote in one of his many great works, Matilda: "Be outrageous. Go the whole hog."

With this in mind, Dahl, who would have been 100 this year, would have been delighted with Matilda The Musical.

Now in its fifth year in London, the show is still playing to sell-out crowds at the West End's Cambridge Theatre, but that's no real surprise when the production is a perfect storm of fast-paced funny songs, inventive sets, slick choreography and outrageous villains.

Throughout his books, Dahl always delighted in dropping sane, sensible children into a throng of evil adults, spoilt brats and dire situations, and that is exactly where our hero Matilda, played by Sara Sheen on the night we visited, finds herself.

Her family are an evil lot, with dad (played hilariously like a Cockney Vic Reeves by Michael Begley) a used car salesman and mum a wannabe star lusting after dance partner Rudolpho.

They are strong characters, but little star Sheen has more than enough presence to stand up to them and the system.

For such a waif like figure, she has an amazingly powerful voice and never faltered through her many solo numbers.

The show starts at a fair old pace but it really takes off when the misunderstood, intelligent Matilda sets off for lessons at Crunchem Hall School.

It's here we meet the star of the show for me, Craige Els, playing strict-bordering-on-the-psychotic headmistress Miss Trunchbull.

She's a hideous creature, a towering former champion hammer thrower complete with hunched back, warts and glowering stare.

"Yes there are belly laughs aplenty, but the emotional depth is always grounded by the scenes with Matilda"

The audience sit up whenever she marches onto stage as if we're about to be told off for chewing gum and she has some of the best set pieces, including a heart in mouth scene where she shows her hammer throwing prowess with one of the pupils.

This dark humour is finely balanced throughout the musical, a skill Dahl perfected through many of his best works.

Yes there are belly laughs aplenty, but the emotional depth is always grounded by the scenes with Matilda, whether she's standing up against bullying adults or trying to harness her intelligence with the help of equally misunderstood teacher Miss Honey (played by Miria Parvin in an understated but crucial role).

Breaking up these scenes are the wonderful songs, written by Tim Minchin, which are Revolting Rhymes par excellence.

There isn't a dud among them, although it's hard to keep up with the lyrics sometimes, such is the breakneck delivery.

It helps that the choreography is equally fast-paced, whether it's pupils climbing up a mountain of letters or throwing themselves into the audience on massive swings, the restrictions of the stage setting are pushed to the very limits.

Dahl always had a message for children throughout his children's books, whether it's being selfless, standing up to unjustness or simply being kind, and the producers have taken Matilda's moral to heart - you can achieve anything given the right guidance.

With their guidance being the magic of Dahl and Minchin, it was always going to be a resounding success.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical is booking until October 2017 at the Cambridge Theatre .

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