|David Leonard as Agatha Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical, opening April 11 on Broadway. Photo via Theatre Breaks|
Roald Dahl, despite being a children's author, is not exactly known for safely saccharine narratives, much less run-of-the-mill villains straight out of Hanna-Barbera. But who are we to moralize when fairy tales, those supposedly kid-friendly stories, rivaled torture porn in their original form?
Dahl's worst meanies are raging pedophobes. Headmistress Agatha Trunchbull, the hulking villain in Matilda, loathes children only less than the Grand High Witch does. Unlike the sorceress, however, Trunchbull has non-magical, very real tools to express her animus. (The magic is left to Matilda.) She keeps, for instance, a medieval torture chamber to punish wayward schoolchildren—and she can get really creative with what is 'wayward.' And as a professional hammer thrower, Trunchbull can take her villainy to new heights.
Bertie Carvel transforms into the she-man for Matilda the Musical on West End and would reprise the role when the play transfers to Broadway on April 11. Pam Ferris also got into the role in the 1996 movie.