Entertainment » Theatre

Matilda The Musical

by Will Demers
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday May 19, 2017
Matilda The Musical

A little girl, born into a family that doesn't want her, a schoolteacher that believes she is a genius, and a headmistress that wants to put her away forever. From the pages of British novelist Roald Dahl, this story is classic and loved and in musical form, pops with visual delights and over the top characterizations.

"Matilda the Musical" is helmed by director Matthew Warchus who brought the original production to life at Stratford Upon Avon, England. Bringing his considerable experience to this National tour, a fine collection of actors highlight this show. With book by Dennis Kelly and music by Tim Minchin, Matilda's journey to Broadway was a quick one, and still runs in a West End production.

Matilda (Jenna Weir) is the daughter of Mr. (Matt Harrington) and Mrs. Wormwood (Darcy Stewart) who weren't expecting a second child at all. He spends his day scheming to make money in underhanded business deals; she practices her ballroom dancing with Rudolpho (Stephen Diaz) as their son Michael (Darren Burkett) watches TV and really doesn't do anything else.

Wormwood places Matilda in a private school after she meets Mrs. Phelps (Keisha T. Fraser) at the library, a kind woman who points out her new teacher Miss Honey (Jennifer Bowles) a sweet young lady who will become very important to her.

Meeting the Headmistress Miss Trunchbull (Dan Chameroy) of her new school proves to be a frightening experience; she truly hates children and loves physical education. Dreaming up punishments for things that may or may not have actually happened, Trunchbull is a classic Dahl villain. As are the Wormwoods, who truly hate their daughter. Mr. W keeps calling her a "boy" despite the fact that she isn't. Matilda reads books instead of watching television all the time.

Miss Honey suggest to Trunchbull that Matilda belongs with the older students because she, at only five-years-old has read several books and can do some serious math. Turned down flat, Honey takes it in her turn to make Matilda her charge, and the results are quite funny.

Flanked by an incredibly talented group of young actors, notably Gabby Beredo as Lavender and Soren Thayne Miller as Bruce, the adults are just as bright and funny. Harrington and Stewart happily chew the scenery in their performances as the nasty parents. Fraser as the librarian is fun and Bowles is sweet and shy as the hapless teacher.

But both Chameroy as Trunchbull and Weir as Matilda dominate this show. Dressed in bizarre, bulging garb as the crazed leader of the school, Chameroy is hysterically spot-on, and you won't be able to stop watching him. Weir's diminutive stature does nothing to diminish her performance as Matilda, which is truly mesmerizing especially during the number 'Quiet."

Fun choreography and lighting effects give this delightfully and darkly comic show its spunk and brilliance, you will want the whole family to see it. It's fun for kids with enough dark humor to delight the adults.

"Matilda the Musical" runs through May 21 at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC), 220 Weybosset Street, Providence, RI 02903. For information or tickets, call 401-421-2997 or visit www.ppacri.org.

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