On Tuesday March 28th, The Royal Shakespeare Company & The Dodgers presented Matilda the Musical at the Orpheum. Based on the book many know and love this musical follows the story of Matilda Wormwood an unwanted child, student, and also a genius. As the story unfolds Matilda finds support with Miss Honey and her librarian and even more rancor with her mean principal. When all is said and done the audience was left breathless with over-cheering and uproarious applause. This musical lived up to its hype and perhaps a little bit more.
At this performance no actor bogged down the show. Everyone added their own two cents which is what made the show truly wonderful. Miss Honey (Jennifer Bowles) fit the role to a tee. She was sweet and soft spoken with a timid disposition which highlighted the scenes where she stood up for what she believed in. Jennifer Bowles is a well rounded actress that can play comedic and dramatic in the same performance without demeaning the other. Her voice acting was superb, but sometimes lost the accent at great crescendos. This happened as well when she spoke with excitement. Second, busty Miss Trunchbull (Dan Chameroy) was a delight. Performing tricks and stunts won the audience along with their character building. "NO nonono" this musical is not only about Matilda, but a plethora of 3-D characters. The only disappointment was that the role is played by a man and not a woman, but one cannot have everything, right? Next, the Wormwoods sans Matilda (Darren Burkett, Matt Harrington & Darcy Stewart) were hilarious character actors. Mr. Wormwood (Harrington) transitioned smoothly from intermission to second act with an interactive song called Telly. The son Michael (Burkett) never failed to milk what comedic timing he could from each scene. Mrs. Wormwood (Stewart) was loud filling her character to the brim. What was the saving grace of these despicable characters was their comedy. Special shout-out goes to Rudolpho (Stephen Diaz) for his amazing performance in the number "Loud". Finally to Matilda (Jenna Weir) whose hair and tone was reminiscent of Hermione Granger. Her cold calculating cleverness and emotional passion contrasted sharply making an interesting character. What was most admirable was that her accent never slipped during the performance, unlike some of her peers and adults. The only criticism for the entire cast is accent slips.
The technical elements were astounding, carried out with meticulous care and rehearsal. Vanstone, Kieve, Shier, & Smolenski IV noted workers in lighting and sound were what made this musical great. The intelligent use of spotlights, special lighting, and sound effects was what kept the audience engaged. Bill Congdon's great leadership of the pit orchestra also added to the musical. The scores appreciation of soprano and bass clarinet were duly noted. The stunts of hammer throwing a little girl and the eating of an entire cake were amazing. Everything about this show was superb.
For everyone involved in this miracle of a show, kudos should be given. From top to bottom every effort and unseen labor has made Matilda the Musical a pioneering lighthouse for little girls everywhere. The audience was full of children, a fair share dressed as Matilda. Children were vying to get picture with just the enlarged poster in the lobby. The strength of this musical's story of unity and empowerment was heartwarming. This show could not have toured America at a better time.