GO to the top of the class, Matilda.

The first UK tour of the smash hit West End musical, which spends the next month in Southampton, gets an A+ from me.

It's joyous and gleeful, yet nasty and dark, perfectly capturing the essence of Roald Dahl's novel and the subsequent film version with the ingenious lyrics of funnyman Tim Minchin.

This is the tale of a five-year-old girl who is so intelligent she devours Dickens before breakfast and teachers herself Russian in order to enjoy Dostoevsky in the way it was intended.

But her philistine parents simply guzzle TV and bully their bright offspring.

Matilda escapes into the books given to her by her teacher and librarian, much to the disgust of terrifying headteacher Miss Trunchbull (the dastardly Elliot Harper), who believes all children are maggots.

Discovering she has special powers, Matilda and her classmates take on Trunchbull and, of course, all's well that ends well.

Star in the making Freya Scott, who played the lead role last night, and the tremendous team of talented children are virtually ever present on stage and make this brilliant show.

The adults playing child roles add a wonderful physicality to this high-energy piece, which sees swings flying over the heads of the audience during the spectacular When I Grow Up and a scooter riding encore.

Choreography is impressive throughout, particularly during the pommel horse sequence and classrooms scenes where desks become dance partners and chalk moves of its own accord.

Those 'revolting' children rule the school and we wouldn't want it any other way.

Kids of all ages will revel in this wonderful tale, set to catchy live music from a full orchestra.

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who doesn't love Matilda deserves a detention with the diabolical Miss Trunchbull.

Matilda the Musical runs until Saturday July 6.

Tickets: 023 8071 1811 or mayflower.org.uk