Guinness World Records - Officially Amazing

Record-breaking mischievousness with Matilda The Musical

 
 
 
 
 
1
 

The stage musical version of Roald Dahl's classic book Matilda appears in the new 2013 Guinness World Records book for its record seven Laurence Oliver award wins - the most Oliviers won by a theatre production.

Written by Dennis Kelly with music and lyrics from Tim Minchin, the show scooped awards for Best New Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Theatre Choreographer, Best Set Design and Best Sound Design.

The inclusion of Matilda The Musical in the 2013 edition coincides with Roald Dahl Dayon 13th September 2012.

To celebrate, GWR Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday, pictured above with the show's cast, takes a superlative look at the original novel to find some related record-breakers…

 

"Every afternoon, as soon as her mother had left for bingo, Matilda would toddle down to the library."

A real book worm, Matilda escapes the grim reality of life as an unwanted child by visiting her local library. She'd feel right at home, then, in the world's largest library- the United States Library of Congress in Washington, DC. This enormous collection containts more than 128 million items, including 29 million books, arranged along 853 km (530 miles) of shelving. Not even Matilda could cope that that many books.

And while we're talking about libraries, let's hope our plucky heroine always gets her books back to Mrs Phelps in time, or she might face library fine. The highest library fine ever paid came to $345.14 (£203.29) for a copy of poetry book Days and Deeds that was checked out of Kewanee Public Library in Illinois, USA, in April 1955 and returned 47 years later!

But 47 years is nothing compared to the record for the most overdue library book- Robert Walpole (England) borrowed a book from Sidney Sussex College in 1667 or 1668 and it didn't make it back to the library until 288 years later!

And in an act of punishment worthy of the Trunchbull, Beverly Goldman of Florida, USA, suffered the world's most severe library penalty in 2000 when she failed to return her overdue books. After 16 months of requests, her local library had Ms Goldman arrested and sent not to The Chokey but to an actual jail! Luckily, the books were worth just $127.86 (£78) so the naughty Ms Goldman spent just 8 hours behind bars…

 

"Matilda, holding the hat in one hand and a thin tube of Superglue in the other, proceeded to squeeze a line of glue very neatly all round the inside rim of the hat."

If you want to teach your dad a lesson Matilda-style, then you'll be looking to glue his hat to his head. But to do the job properly (and of course we're not encouraging you to do this at all, just saying) you need some record-breaking sticky stuff. The Germany company 3M produces a glue that set the record for the heaviest weight lifted by glue- its 3M Scotch-Weld DP 760 lifted a truck weighing 10.08 tonnes (22,222 lb) in June 2012, so a little bit of this on the rim of your dad's hat will do the trick! (Like I said, please don't really do this - or if you do, don't tell anyone you've read it here!)

"No one in the world could give the right answer just like that, especially a little girl!"

Matilda has a special gift with numbers and can work out the profit her dodgy car-dealing dad makes by doing the sums in her head. But how does she compare with record holder Scott Flansburgh of Phoenix, Arizona, USA? In 2000, he earned himself a Guinness World Records certificate as the fastest human calculator by correctly adding a randomly selected number - in this case, 38 - to itself 36 times (so, 38 x 36) without a calculator in just 15 seconds. How fast can you work out the answer in your head? (It's at the end of the article.)

"You've got to remember that the Trunchbull once threw the hammer for Britain in the Olympics…"

The evil Trunchbull, headmistress of  is repeatedly hammering on about her success in the British Olympic team. Her sport? Hammer throwing, as Matilda's classmate Hortensia expains: "The hammer is actually a ruddy great cannonball at the end of a long bit of wire, and the thrower whisks it round and round his or her head faster and faster and then lets go… The Trunchbull will throw anything around just to keep her arm in, especially children."

If the Trunchbull had competed at the London 2012 Olympics, she'd have needed a throw farther than the 78.18 m Olympic record set by Tatyana Lysenko of Russia to win. But the women's world record for the farthest hammer throw is even more impressive than this: Betty Heidler of Germany launched her hammer a whopping 79.42 m in Halle, Germany, on 21 May 2011. This is longer than a 747 jumbo jet - not even Trunchbull could throw a child this far! Talking of which…

"She simply picked him up and flung him clear out of the open classroom window."

When Julius Rottwinkle gets caught eating Liquiorice Allsorts during scripture lessons, the vicious Trunchbull picks him up and defenestrates him (that's "throws him out of the window" to you and me). And guess what - yes, there's a Guinness World Record for the longest distance to throw a person (although on to a crash-mat, if you please, not out the window into the lettuces!) If the evil headmistress had wanted to equal this record, she'd have had to pitch poor Julius at least 4.87 m (15 ft 11 in)! This how far record-holder Jonathan Macfarlane threw Andrew Rainford at the Sylvia Shopping Mall in Auckland, Australia, back in July 2009. Ouch!

"With great care, she held the box over the neck of the jug and pulled the lid fully open and tipped the newt it."

Remember Lavender's prank of dropping a newt into the Trunchbull's water jug? Well, if she wanted to make a really big splash, the naughty schoolgirl could have used the world's largest newt- the Spanish ribbed newt (Pleurodeles waltl), found in central and southern Iberia and Morocco, ranges in length from 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 in).

And if she wanted to be really naughty, there's always the most poisonous newt- the skin, muscles, and blood of the California newt (Taricha torosa) contain tetrodotoxin, a highly toxic and powerful nerve poison. Just one tiny drop of this substance will kill several thousand mice, and maybe even one Trunchbull. (Mmm, not even Roald Dahl was this twisted and cruel!)

"The cake was fully eighteen inches in diameter and it was covered with dark-brown chocolate icing."

When Bruce Bogtrotter eats a slice of the Trunchbull's chocolate cake, the punishment is severe: he is forced, under the threat of a whipping from a riding crop, to eat the entire cake, "fully eighteen inches [46 cm] in diameter and covered with dark-brown chocolate icing".

Of course, we at Guinness World Records know many grub-guzzling gluttons like Bruce Bogtrooter. The king of them all, though, is chocolate-chomping Pat Bertoletti, who set the record for the most chocolate bars eaten in 1 minute when he scoffed three Mars bars in 2010. But Pat doesn't stop at chocolate. Oh no. This grand gastronome has set 60-second world records for eating the likes of bananas (8 in a minute), chicken nuggets (12), garlic cloves (36), Ferrero Rocher chocolates (9), grapes (40), jam doughnuts (3), mini gherkins (16), peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches (6), shrimps (167 g; 5.89 oz) and yoghurt (1.27 kg; 2 lb 12.8 oz). Burp!

I wonder how Pat would get on if he had to eat the world's largest cake? Even if he and Bruce Bogtrotter teamed up, I doubt they'd get through the 58.1-tonne (128,238-lb) birthday cake made by EarthGrains bakery back in 1989. This is as heavy as 12 adult male elephants!

"Now stay where you are, boy, while I test you on your spelling to see if you've learnt anything at all this past week."

The Truchbull's spelling tests are a frightening experience, as little Nigel Hicks discovers. But not even the Trunchbull could fail to be impressed by the magical spelling prowess of record holder Shishir Hathwar of India. Back in November 2010, he broke the record for the fastest time to spell 50 words backwards, reeling off six, seven and eight-letter words in a time of just 1 min 22.53 sec.

(And did you know that the first ever game show on TV was a spelling challenge! Spelling Beewas first transmitted by the BBC on 31 May 1938 - and I'd not be surprised if it's the Trunchbull's favourite TV show!)

* Matilda The Musical's record and many, many more feature in the new Guinness World Records 2013 edition - available worldwide from 13th September 2012.

Search News