Emma Thompson and Lashana Lynch join newcomer Alisha Weir at premiere of Matilda The Musical

Emma Thompson and Lashana Lynch looked in good spirits as they joined co-star Alisha Weir at the premiere of Matilda The Musical at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the BFI London Film Festival on Wednesday.

The actress, 63, who plays Miss Trunchbull in the film, cut a stylish figure as she walked the red carpet alongside her fellow co-stars.

Emma donned a beige leather jacket for the evening with a tassel detail which she wore with black trousers.

Big screen debut: Alisha, who plays the lead role of Matilda in the flick, sported a white dress with a pleated hemline and a baby blue waist strap

Big screen debut: Alisha, who plays the lead role of Matilda in the flick, sported a white dress with a pleated hemline and a baby blue waist strap

The film star also sported a white printed T-shirt and added height to her frame with a pair of black leather boots.

Emma, who completed her look with dark brown earrings, grinned from ear-to-ear as she was greeted by hundreds of fans who lined the red carpet. 

Alisha, who plays the lead role of Matilda in the flick, was joined on the red carpet by actor Stephen Graham who plays her father Mr. Wormwood. 

The Irish actress sported a white dress with a pleated hemline and a baby blue waist strap. 

Cast: (L to R) Sindhu Vee, Stephen Graham, Andrei Shen, Ashton Robertson, Dame Emma Thompson, Alisha Weir, Matthew Warchus, Charlie Hodson-Prior, Rei Yamauchi Fulker, Meesha Garbett, Dennis Kelly, Winter Jarrett-Glasspool, Lashana Lynch and Tim Minchin pose on the red carpet

Cast: (L to R) Sindhu Vee, Stephen Graham, Andrei Shen, Ashton Robertson, Dame Emma Thompson, Alisha Weir, Matthew Warchus, Charlie Hodson-Prior, Rei Yamauchi Fulker, Meesha Garbett, Dennis Kelly, Winter Jarrett-Glasspool, Lashana Lynch and Tim Minchin pose on the red carpet 

Co-stars: Alisha was joined on the red carpet by Stephen Graham, who plays her father Mr. Wormwood

Dapper: Stephn looked smart in a navy blazer and matching trousers which he wore with a black shirt

Co-stars: Alisha was joined on the red carpet by Stephen Graham, who plays her father Mr. Wormwood 

Career defining role: Born on September 26, 2009 and raised in the Knocklyon area of Dublin, Alisha Weir has been plucked from relative obscurity to play the 'brilliant' Matilda Wormwood, a schoolgirl with a vivid imagination who dares to take a stand and turn her wildest dreams into a reality

Career defining role: Born on September 26, 2009 and raised in the Knocklyon area of Dublin, Alisha Weir has been plucked from relative obscurity to play the ‘brilliant’ Matilda Wormwood, a schoolgirl with a vivid imagination who dares to take a stand and turn her wildest dreams into a reality

Stephen, who attended the premiere alongside his wife Hannah Walters, looked smart in a navy blazer and matching trousers which he wore with a black shirt.

Lashana Lynch, who plays Miss Honey, looked sensational for the evening in a multi-coloured sleeveless dress with a sequined embellishment.

The garment featured a diamond print while the No Time To Die star added height to her frame with a pair of black heels. 

Sindu Vee, who plays Mrs. Phelps in the musical, cut a glamorous figure in a black strapless gown.

The actress also sported an eye-catching gold necklace and matching arm bands while she added to her look with a burgundy clutch bag.

Born on September 26, 2009 and raised in the Knocklyon area of Dublin, Alisha has been plucked from relative obscurity to play the ‘brilliant’ Matilda Wormwood, a schoolgirl with a vivid imagination who dares to take a stand and turn her wildest dreams into a reality. 

Looking good: Emma donned a beige leather jacket for the evening with a tassel detail which she wore with black trousers

Casual: The film star also sported a white printed T-shirt

Looking good: Emma donned a beige leather jacket for the evening with a tassel detail which she wore with black trousers

Role: Emma underwent a dramatic transformation for her role as Miss Trunchbull

Role: Emma underwent a dramatic transformation for her role as Miss Trunchbull

Reunited: Stephan and Lashana grinned from ear to ear as they greeted each other at the premiere

Reunited: Stephan and Lashana grinned from ear to ear as they greeted each other at the premiere 

It could almost be art imitating life for the young Irish actress, who won the coveted role when she was an 11-year old drama student with little professional experience to speak of. 

Now aged 13 and on the verge of a major promotional campaign with an A-list group of actors, Weir appears to be completing a remarkable leap from independent features to international stardom. 

Before stepping into Matilda’s tiny shoes, the young actress and singer had previously appeared on Ireland’s The Late Late Toy Show, in which she performed a rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours, and Once the musical at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre. 

She has also featured in the 2018 independent thriller Don’t Leave Home, playing Siobhan Callahan, and Irish TV drama Darklands. 

Playful: Emma struck an animated pose for photographers as she made her way down the red carpet

Playful: Emma struck an animated pose for photographers as she made her way down the red carpet 

Family: Joining Emma at the premiere was her daughter Gaia, 22, who she shares with husband Greg Wise

Family: Joining Emma at the premiere was her daughter Gaia, 22, who she shares with husband Greg Wise 

Star-studded: Emma stopped on the red carpet to sign autographs for fans

Star-studded: Emma stopped on the red carpet to sign autographs for fans 

Wow: Lashana added to her look with a light pallette of makeup and a pair of eye-catching earrings

Outfit: She also sported a gold headband

Wow: Lashana added to her look with a light pallette of makeup and a pair of eye-catching earrings 

There has also been a brief appearance on mainstream TV, with the young performer featuring in a rendition of Trip The Light Fantastic on Dancing With The Stars Ireland. 

Following her casting alongside Thompson and former Bond actress Lashana Lynch in 2021, the young star’s drama teacher Johnny Ward – a successful actor best known for his role in Irish soap opera Fair City – tweeted his delight. 

He told followers: ‘MASSIVE NEWS!! Absolutely over the moon to finally announce that my Drama Student Alisha Weir has landed the title role of ‘Matilda’ in the Roald Dahl Netflix production of Matilda!! So so proud!’ 

Ward also credited Maureen V Ward Talent Agency Ireland, an extension of the successful Talented Kids Agency Ireland, for its role in representing Weir and nurturing her developing career. 

Loved-up: Stephen leaned in for a kiss with his wife Hannah Walters who looked incredible in a navy long-sleeved dress

Loved-up: Stephen leaned in for a kiss with his wife Hannah Walters who looked incredible in a navy long-sleeved dress 

Couple: Comedian Lenny Henry attended the premiere alongside his partner Lisa Makin

Suave: The actor looked dapper in a black suit

Couple: Comedian Lenny Henry attended the premiere alongside his partner Lisa Makin

Fmily: Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak attended the event with his daughter

Fmily: Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak attended the event with his daughter 

The agency previously appeared to foreshadow the trajectory her career might take by publishing a glowing report in 2019, in which her vocal performance was described as ‘very clear’ and ‘perfectly in tune.’ 

Alisha later admitted she was overwhelmed after winning the role last played by child star Mara Wilson in Danny DeVito’s 1996 rendering of Dahl’s popular children’s book. 

Posting on Instagram in January 2021, she 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.’ 

Sensational: Sindu Vee, who plays Mrs. Phelps in the musical, cut a glamorous figure in a black strapless gown

Wow: The actress also sported an eye-catching gold necklace and matching arm bands while she added to her look with a burgundy clutch bag

Sensational: Sindu Vee, who plays Mrs. Phelps in the musical, cut a glamorous figure in a black strapless gown

Looking good: Gaia donned a black midi dress with a floral print as she posed alongside her father Greg

Looking good: Gaia donned a black midi dress with a floral print as she posed alongside her father Greg

Item: Emma and Greg, who have been married for 19 years, appeared in good spirits as they walked arm-in-arm down the red carpet

Item: Emma and Greg, who have been married for 19 years, appeared in good spirits as they walked arm-in-arm down the red carpet 

However she would be forced to wait before work commenced on the production, with principal photography at Shepperton Studios initially postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Matilda director Matthew Warchus recently admitted the part as a ‘huge role’ for Weir, but she earned it on merit following ‘an unforgettable audition.’

Of the new production, he added: ‘Matilda will be an imaginative and fresh retelling of the award-winning musical, Matilda, featuring talented young newcomers, alongside established stars.

‘I look forward to introducing this beloved and powerful story to a new generation of fans around the world.’

Talent: Matilda director Matthew Warchus recently admitted the part as a 'huge role' for Alisha, but she earned it on merit following 'an unforgettable audition'

Talent: Matilda director Matthew Warchus recently admitted the part as a ‘huge role’ for Alisha, but she earned it on merit following ‘an unforgettable audition’

Overjoyed: Alisha admitted she was overwhelmed after winning the role last played by child star Mara Wilson in Danny DeVito's 1996 rendering of Dahl's popular children's book

She said: 'I am delighted to be playing the role of ‘Matilda’ in Matilda the movie musical which will be on Netflix'

Overjoyed: Alisha admitted she was overwhelmed after winning the role last played by child star Mara Wilson in Danny DeVito’s 1996 rendering of Dahl’s popular children’s book (pictured with Tim Minchin)

Based on Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel, the film is written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin from his stage musical adaptation of the book. 

The musical became an instant hit when it opened at the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford in November 2010; after which it transferred to the Cambridge Theatre, where it is set to reopen once that’s allowed. It also enjoyed a good run on Broadway.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical is released by Sony Pictures on 25th November. 

Coming soon: Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical is released by Sony Pictures on 25th November

Coming soon: Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical is released by Sony Pictures on 25th November

This magical Matilda is pitch perfect… even Roald Dahl would be delighted: BRIAN VINER’s five-star review of Matilda The Musical 

By Brian Viner for the Daily Mail

MATILDA THE MUSICAL

Rating:

Nobody knew better than Roald Dahl that his genius for storytelling did not always transfer to the silver screen, even if he was pretty much alone in hating the 1971 film Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.

Inspired by his novel Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, the movie he thought irredeemably ‘crummy’ has become a much-loved classic.

And now Matilda The Musical fully deserves to join it in the pantheon of great children’s films. I’m sticking my neck out, but I reckon it would even have delighted the notoriously dyspeptic, hard-to-please Dahl himself.

Last night’s world premiere was also the curtain-raiser to this year’s London Film Festival, and rarely has the LFF got off to such an exhilarating start.

Matilda The Musical is a joy from beginning to end, exquisitely written, acted and choreographed, and an early indication that the streaming giant Netflix did not overpay last year when it forked out an eye-popping $500million (£440million) for Dahl’s back catalogue. The film was adapted from the monumental West End and Broadway hit, but that isn’t always a recipe for success on screen either.

Last night's world premiere was also the curtain-raiser to this year's London Film Festival, and rarely has the LFF got off to such an exhilarating start, writes Brian Viner. Pictured: Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull in new Matilda the Musical

Last night’s world premiere was also the curtain-raiser to this year’s London Film Festival, and rarely has the LFF got off to such an exhilarating start, writes Brian Viner. Pictured: Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull in new Matilda the Musical

Matilda The Musical is a joy from beginning to end, exquisitely written, acted and choreographed, and an early indication that the streaming giant Netflix did not overpay last year when it forked out an eye-popping $500million (£440million) for Dahl's back catalogue. Pictured: Emma Thompson and Alisha Weir at the premiere

Matilda The Musical is a joy from beginning to end, exquisitely written, acted and choreographed, and an early indication that the streaming giant Netflix did not overpay last year when it forked out an eye-popping $500million (£440million) for Dahl’s back catalogue. Pictured: Emma Thompson and Alisha Weir at the premiere 

Moreover, director Matthew Warchus is the man who adapted Dahl’s novel for the stage in the first place, and the words, music and lyrics are by original writers Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin, so there might easily have been a constraining theatrical feel to the enterprise.

Instead, Warchus uses the camera to give the story, about a girl prodigy who uses telekinetic powers to outsmart an evil headmistress, a whole new energy. It works gloriously on screen.

Helpfully, all the children are splendid and little Alisha Weir, the Irish newcomer in the title role, is a real find. She is terrific, and moreover looks exactly right.

Matilda mustn’t be too winsome. For all her goodness, she has a proper devilish streak. Young Alisha captures that perfectly.

Imagine being only 13 years old and not being remotely upstaged by Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough, both an absolute hoot as Matilda’s appalling, boorish parents, or even by the great dame herself, Emma Thompson.

Helpfully, all the children are splendid and little Alisha Weir, the Irish newcomer in the title role, is a real find. She is terrific, and moreover looks exactly right. Pictured: Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull

Helpfully, all the children are splendid and little Alisha Weir, the Irish newcomer in the title role, is a real find. She is terrific, and moreover looks exactly right. Pictured: Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull

With broken veins, discoloured teeth, a hairy chin, shelf-like bosom and enormous black bovver boots, Thompson plays the monstrous head, Agatha Trunchbull, as a kind of (vaguely) female Benito Mussolini, strutting around her empire striking fear into the hearts of everyone who dares meet her dreadful glare – except Matilda. It is one of the great scene-stealing roles (played in the 1996 non-musical film version by Pam Ferris) and is rumoured to have been offered first to Ralph Fiennes.

But Thompson, as you might expect, grabs the opportunity every bit as firmly as Miss Trunchbull, the English hammer-throwing champion of 1959, once held the hammer.

The role of Miss Honey, the loving, sympathetic teacher who persuades Matilda’s awful parents to let her go to school, is in some ways a harder character to play convincingly, but Lashana Lynch, a Bond girl in last year’s No Time To Die, does a grand job. Are we allowed even to say ‘Bond girl’ any more, by the way?

Three cheers to everyone involved, but perhaps above all to Roald Dahl, who in dreaming all this up, gave other amazingly creative people the chance to build on his mighty legacy. Pictured: Emma Thompson, husband Greg and daughter Gaia at the premiere

Three cheers to everyone involved, but perhaps above all to Roald Dahl, who in dreaming all this up, gave other amazingly creative people the chance to build on his mighty legacy. Pictured: Emma Thompson, husband Greg and daughter Gaia at the premiere 

It is tricky to pick a favourite song or favourite scene; they are all so witty, so pleasing on the ear and the eye, with occasional echoes of another wonderful film musical, Carol Reed’s Oliver! (1968). But if I had to choose, it would be Miss Trunchbull’s demonic spelling test, followed by her crypto-fascist anthem, The Smell Of Rebellion.

Three cheers to everyone involved, but perhaps above all to Roald Dahl, who in dreaming all this up, gave other amazingly creative people the chance to build on his mighty legacy.

Matilda The Musical opens in cinemas on November 25, and on Netflix in December.

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