Matilda has come to town, bringing family fun and lots of laughs! In this musical comedy and coming of age tale, we see a brilliant young Matilda (Jaime Maclean) forced to put up with a terrible set of parents (Matt Harrington and Darcy Stewart) and a monstrous principal (Dan Cameroy). Her only consolations are the books that she voraciously reads, and her teacher, Ms. Honey (Jennifer Bowles ), who is the only adult in her life that believes in her.
Upon walking into the theater, I was greeted with a very unique and intriguing set. Boxes towered from floor to ceiling, and letters of the alphabet were scattered across the stage. Though chaotic, the balance of the placement of the boxes was very visually pleasing. The set is essential in the show, morphing to adapt to every scene at a moment's notice. The most memorable set moment was the visually delicious song called “School Song”. As the lyrics were sung, the fence that several cast members were climbing on was illuminated, matching the song. Overall, the lights, sound, and set were all very strong.
The show began in a bit of an underwhelming fashion. The opening song was amusing, but sitting in the back, I had a hard time hearing many of the cast’s (especially the children’s) lines. One positive aspect of the first opening song was the doctor, (Justin Packard ) who carried the song with a strong (albeit tired) voice. In general, the cast was lacking vocally. The kid ensemble sounded very strong together, but individually they lacked diction and volume. Ms. Honey had a good voice but was not very impressive. My personal favorite singer was Matilda, who had incredible technique and a beautiful tone for her age. Her acting was unpredictable though. She had some very strong moments, but at times seemed almost robotic. Overall, however, Maclean did a wonderful job portraying the character.
Though the show started slow, it wasn’t long before the story picked up and the audience was fully behind the cast. It was very hard to not root for the lovable cast of talented children. When you could hear their words, their acting was very good. They were also all exceptional dancers, and brought all the numbers, especially “Revolting Children” to life.
I was also very impressed with two other actors: Harrington and Cameroy. These two carried the show with their comedic songs and acting. Mr. Wormwood was hilariously stupid and horrible, and his clown-like antics had the audience roaring at several occasions. Ms. Trunchbull was obviously the crowd’s favorite character, and Cameroy’s sinister portrayal raised the stakes for both the audience and the other actors.
All in all, it is worth it to go see Matilda. Though the cast might not be the strongest vocally, they make up for it with their zany and fun acting style. The set, lighting, and sound are all impressive, and the many tricks and stunts that they are integrated into are breathtaking, especially for a younger audience.