Creating Believable Characters: Mrs Wormwood

Writer of the Book for Matilda The Musical, Dennis Kelly discusses writing the part of Mrs Wormwood for the stage and bringing her character up to date.


Dennis Kelly: In the book, Mrs Wormwood was really into her Bingo, she liked Bingo. For anyone who doesn’t know what Bingo is, it’s quite a boring game. I don’t know why but for some reason I wasn’t so keen on Bingo. It might have been because in the 80’s when Roald Dahl wrote it that would have had more significance and people would have been more into Bingo.

 At the time I started writing it, I think it wasn’t really when things like Strictly Come Dancing were on, it was just a bit before then, I wasn’t really aware of that stuff. But there was a lot of people talking about Salsa and Ballroom dancing and I just thought it would be interesting if she was in love with dancing. What I wanted was for her to be in love with something, think it was the best thing in the world so much that she completely ignored her little girl. So I just thought that was an interesting idea, a mother that just couldn’t give two hoots about her kid because she was so obsessed with ballroom dancing.