She might say that she is small but it hasn’t stopped Northamptonshire’s Poppy Jones from taking the starring role in Matilda the Musical coming to Milton Keynes Theatre next week.
Poppy shares the title role with Annalise Bradbury, Lara Cohen and Nicola Turner in the award winning musical, which runs from June 5 to 30. It features music and lyrics by comedian Tim Minchin.
Matilda is an extraordinary girl with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind whose talents are constantly belittled by her cruel parents and headmistress.
Dreaming of a better life for herself, she dares to take a stand against these oppressive forces and takes her destiny into her own hands.
It’s a role which Poppy is relishing, and she has a connection with the show’s lyricist.
Poppy said: “The best thing about Matilda is the really cool dancing, the acting, and I love singing the songs.
“We met Tim Minchin, who told me he was born in Northampton as well, and that night he watched me playing Matilda, how amazing is that! I love the audiences too.
“I have two favourite bits in the show, I love the song Quiet because I think it’s a really good song and I love to sing it.
“I also like the bit where we go and have a real cup of tea and a biscuit in Miss Honey’s house.”
Poppy is full of admiration for Matilda.
Describing the character, Poppy said: “She’s really clever and gets picked on by her parents, but she realises she is special, so she uses that power to get rid of a big bully.”
And it turns out it was a role she was really familiar with.
Poppy said: “In Year 2, I read it and it kept pulling me in to read more. In Year 3, we had a term about Roald Dahl, and we did Matilda.
“I also took my daddy to Matilda as his birthday present.”
Poppy is also enjoying being out on tour with the show.
She said: “It’s really fun, because you get to meet new people and new friends and I have some really lovely chaperones who are amazing at looking after me.”
And while the tour has meant some time away from family and friends, there will be more than a few of them travelling down to Milton Keynes to see her in Matilda.
Poppy added: “Loads of my friends are coming to see me, and my teachers and head teacher of my school and brown owl and the Brownies.
“Also my family are coming with my cousins and uncles and aunties.
“I think there might be a mini bus as well with everyone coming.”
This is undoubtedly the biggest role she has taken but she has performed in The Wizard of Oz at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate. A number of people have helped her to get to this stage.
She said: “I would really like to thank Miss Soeli for helping me with my singing and Miss Gemma for encouraging my acting.
“I would like to thank Kelly and Julie for helping me follow my dreams and they are such brilliant people.
“The biggest thank you would go to my family for helping me with all the travelling and for helping me learn the lines for Matilda. I love them so much.”
Craige Els will reprise the role of Miss Trunchbull, having played her in the West End for three years between 2014 and 2017.
He will be joined by Carly Thoms as Miss Honey and Sebastien Torkia as Mr Wormwood as well as former West End cast-mate Rebecca Thornhill as Mrs Wormwood.
Tickets cost from £17.70 and these can be booked by calling the box office on 0844 871 7652 or by visiting www.atgtickets.co.uk/miltonkeynes.