Lauren Byrne stars as Miss Honey in the phenomenally successful Matilda The Musical, which has just extended its run at The Cambridge Theatre in London’s West End.
A tonic for audiences of all ages, this anarchic production about a strong and determined heroine with a vivid imagination has now won 101 international awards including 24 for Best Musical.
Together with the film adaptation from the same core creative team Roald Dahl’s themes of bravery and standing up for what you believe in will continue to inspire young audiences all over the world.
You’re playing Miss Honey in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical, how would you describe the show to anyone who hasn’t seen it?
I don’t think I’ve ever known a person to leave the theatre after watching Matilda The Musical without a huge smile on their face. It’s completely joyous, and has such a beautiful, empowering message. The show is completely timeless, and is as relevant now as it was when it first opened.
What is it about the character of Miss Honey that excites you the most?
What I really love is seeing the way Miss Honey and Matilda’s journeys are so parallel; despite their difficult backgrounds, they teach each other that they are both deserving of kindness and love. It’s wonderful to see Miss Honey be so inspired by Matilda throughout the show, and I love that she has such a wonderful arc where she realises her own strength.
The new film version has recently been released, how is it different to the stage production?
I’ve actually not seen the film yet but it’s been wonderful to see the reaction to the film, I can’t wait to finally watch it. Although I’m convinced there’s nothing quite like the magic of live theatre…
It’s such a hugely successful show, why do you think it continues to resonate with young people in particular?
I really do think the message is timeless. It will hopefully continue to inspire – so much of the time we can feel truly hopeless at the state of the world, so it’s wonderful to be made to feel as though small actions can have a big impact.
Do you have a favourite moment in the show?
I absolutely love the Amanda Thripp moment. I wish I was small enough to play Amanda and be thrown around by my pigtails!
What’s it like working with so many talented young performers?
They are TRULY inspirational. They’re totally professional, and have such infectious energy! I don’t know how they have the energy to run up the stairs at the end of a show when trudging my way up the stairs behind them in total disbelief! Working with different children onstage every night is always a thrill; it keeps it fresh and new every single show!
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Matilda The Musical?
You won’t be disappointed. And if you don’t laugh out loud, Miss Trunchbull will personally reimburse you for your tickets (not really, but I am certain you will laugh!).