Matilda was one of my favorite books growing up, and I had very high expectations coming into the show. If I am honest, I expected to appreciate the show, but be unimpressed. I was so wrong. A show that is TIME magazine’s #1 show of the year should be expected to deliver. Matilda the musical delivers everything I hoped and more. Roald Dahl’s Matilda, playing at the Orpheum theatre through April 2, is a show to see. This show is based off of Dahl's book Matilda, released in 1988. The show follows a girl who is everything but ordinary, and who knows that she is not bound to the story: she can write her own ending. As Matilda makes friends and shows the adults who is boss, I couldn’t help but be swept away by this strong and little heroine.
The story had a passion in it only the author of the original book could produce. With a cast of mainly children, I was swept away with the energy that they gave the story. I was brought back to school with the blocks of letters framing this show. The power of books and words was shown perfectly in the set. Every scene used letters perfectly to bring you into the setting. Even when the story gave dark turns, the set offset it with its quirky world feel.
Miss Trunchbull, played by Dan Chameroy, had the theater in an uproar. His acting skills and singing had my full attention.”The Smell of Rebellion” was Chameroy’s shining song, with stunning choreography that was executed with sharp movements. The dancing in this performance was one of the pieces that really drew me into the performance. The dancing and singing in Matilda was silly at times, but always pushed the plot forward and was wonderfully executed. The dancing is one of the reasons I feel like this show is worth seeing.
The characters were convincing, and the actors adorable. Jenna Weir, playing Matilda and Cabby Beredo, playing Lavender shone brightly. A negative for this performance? The singing was almost impossible to hear. There is something to be said about annunciation, and I don’t know if it was said enough to this ensemble. It can be a struggle with younger voices that are just so much higher pitched, but unfortunately it left me wondering what the song was trying do until the third or fourth time they repeated it.
This show has humor, great acting, a set that establishes the scene, and dancing that blew me away. It is worth seeing, and it's worth trying to hear what the songs are saying.