It’s a cracking script, it’s one of Roald Dahl most brilliant stories, it’s been turned into a fabulous musical, but you need to be a brave soul to stage a production of Matilda, the musical, because without a superb cast, it’s going to struggle.

But no worries for Philip Morant School's production of the show at the Q Theatre this week.

The show bristles with life from the get-go and the school is blessed with an array of acting talent fit to burst at the seams judging from what we saw on stage.

But for all the talent, there needs to be a strong directorial hand, a clear voice and choreographic cohesion for a show of this complexity to shine.

It’s no use having a talented cast if the director doesn’t cast the show well and tease out the best performances from them.

The basic storyline is classic children’s narrative. A book-loving child from an impoverished background goes to a school where one teacher recognises her talent and encourages her, and one teacher, the headmistress, feels threatens so mercilessly bullies her.

Thankfully Matilda has developed the power of telekinesis - being able to move physical objects with her mind - and is able to exact very satisfying revenge on the bully by end of the show.

Mrs Trunchball is the pantomime baddy and boy is she bad!

Locking children into “chokey” - a small dark cupboard full of spikes - for hours on end wouldn’t stand up to any Ofsted inspection these days but that’s her chosen method of rectitude for errant pupils.

Liam Easton excels in this role with confidence and offers a gloriously played chilling delight in the punishments she metes out.

Ivy Whiteford is flawless in the lead role, pulling off the magnificent quality of showing vulnerability while displaying the strength to lead the fight-back.

Her home family are both hilarious and tragic - Jay Brumpton as the father and Betsy Turner the mother, pitch perfect in the characterisations.

The embedded circus story is compellingly portrayed by Alex Feeley and Charlotte Hughes.

Mention must also go to the main players of the supporting cast, Drew Sams as Michael, Niamh Butcher as the empathetic Miss Honey, Alice Jackson as Mrs Phelps, Alex Derrick and Freddie McKenna, as Rudolpho, Lola Turner as Cook and Sophie Mooe as Sergie.

All the schoolchildren (too numerous to list individually) brought the classroom alive, with clearly defined other characters adding colour and a splash of authenticity to the school environment.

On my way out I bumped into an old friend in the audience - Rob Green, an occasional actor himself.

Rob is D/deaf and was enjoying the show through the addition of the BSL interpreter, the first I’ve ever seen present at a school production.

Another example of the inclusivity that this school holds at its heart.

Hats off to Laura Hicks and her team at the drama department for yet another in a string of wonderful productions at Philip Morant School.