The lights go dark and the audience goes silent. On stage one spotlight comes on as the table starts moving forward. Suddenly, the music starts, slowly at first and the lights slowly goes up. Then slowly, it turns into a fast paced song with well-choreographed and children and parents dancing together with precision. Matilda has everything my child brain imagined when I first read the book at age five. It has the evil, unforgivable villain, the lovable and pure protagonist, and someone who ends up loving our poor little hero. The treasured story was truly brought to life in the broadway adaptation, performed at the Orpheum theater in downtown Minneapolis.
The first thing you see when you walk into the theater is the set. Now, the set for any performance is a large factor, it gives a peek into the show and the mind of the director(Matthew Warchus). For Matilda we can see elements of the show, her love for books, peeking through. The set is floor-to-ceiling, movable boards that are covered in books with their spines faced out, with the occasional giant letter thrown in. Throughout the show, the sets moved across the stage to accommodate the different settings and different personality of each scene. For example during the library scenes, they covered the stage, but, during the playground scene and all of the scenes at the school, had none of the boards on stage.
One factor that wowed me the most was our little protagonist. Matilda(Jaime MacLean) was very clearly the star. Anytime she was on stage all eyes were drawn to her. A small child of 11, fit the part perfectly. Matilda was energetic and a inquerious child for her age, and even in the back of the theater, unable to make out facial expressions i was able to see this expressed in movement, position and the choreography. In her song “Naughty”, She moved around the house with a young child's ease and flexibility. Climbing and jumping around the house with all of its child-sized props, even those in the parents room were Matilda-sized.
The musical was an amazing performance of the well loved book, and all of the characters brought beautifully to life, like our favorite villain, Miss. Trunchbull(Dan Chameroy). This Umbridge-like villain was every person's, least favorite teacher come to life. She was ugly, mean and hated all the kids. During every song she would push or throw or yell at someone. She was the villain for every childhood horror story, and knew it. She lived to torture children. Its as if she just popped out of the womb, fully aged and yelling at the other babies in the womb. This is a truly evil and hated woman and Dan Chameroy managed to to make us all feel the hate coursing through our veins towards her when he took the stage wearing his boots and dress.
Overall the musical was beautiful and would not be one to miss out on, especially if the book was one you read as a child