Onstage now through Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre, under the direction of Matthew Warchus, Matilda, based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl, is just as fabulous as ever. And, while diehard fans of the original story might be surprised to learn that some features of the original story- such as Matilda’s telekinesis- have been downplayed while other parts have been added to appropriately lengthen the short book into a two-hour-plus stage play, this new story is so lively, so fanciful, and so downright fun that it’s perfect in its own right.
Speaking of perfect, young Jaime Maclean was absolutely indomitable in her role as the precocious title character at Wednesday night’s performance. She nailed the long dialogue, full of big words, with precision and ferocity, making her a truly lovable heroine. In the story, Matilda is saddled with two barely-there parents who ignore her and her incredible intelligence. It is not until she meets her teacher Miss Honey (Jennifer Bowles) that she has someone who truly understands her. Sadly, she meets this woman at Crunchem Hall, a sadistic elementary school lorded over by the cruel, villainous Miss Trunchbull (Dan Chameroy).
While Trunchbull’s punishments may border on scary for some young viewers, it’ s a fun kind of scary. In fact, Chameroy is one of the shining spots of this production. He plays Trunchbull as mean, stern, and unrelenting, making for a true villain but one that’s funny in spite of it all. Soft-spoken Bowles, who plays her role with nothing but sweetness, makes for a stark and effective dichotomy between the two.
Combine all these larger-than-life characters with the Burton-esque set design, which seems largely inspired by Quentin Blake’s original book illustrations, and it all adds up to a show that’s quite magical, especially for younger audiences…but also for the young at heart. The choreography here is dazzling too, particularly the great dance number that incorporates swings and that accompanies the fabulous “When I Grow Up Song.”
Anyone who wants a fanciful diversion, along with a subtle but smart commentary on parenting and modern society, will fall in love with Matilda, whether it’s for the first time or the fiftieth.
Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre present MATILDA THE MUSICAL at 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 27 and 28 in in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: $25.15-$104.15, except $20 tickets for college students with ID.
Duke Energy Center Box Office (information only): 919-996-8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/1601714.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-996-8707, email@example.com, or http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/broadway-series-south/group-sales.
THE TOUR: http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/, http://www.ibdb.com/Production/View/500688, https://www.facebook.com/MatildaOnBroadway, https://twitter.com/MatildaBroadway, and http://www.youtube.com/user/MatildaBroadway.
TOUR CREATIVE TEAM: http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/cast-creative/creative/.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfKvdZuzpN0, http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/media/video/, http://us.matildathemusical.com/video/, and http://www.youtube.com/user/MatildaBroadway.
AUDIO PREVIEWS: http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/media/audio/.
2017-18 BSS SEASON: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/broadway-series-south.
North Carolina Theatre: http://www.nctheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/nctheatre, https://twitter.com/nctheatre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Theatre, and http://www.youtube.com/user/nctheatre.
2016-17 NCT SEASON: http://nctheatre.com/show-season/201516-season.
NCT BLOG (Stage Notes): http://www.nctheatre.com/stage-notes.
Matilda (1988 children’s book): http://www.roalddahl.com/roald-dahl/stories/1980s/matilda (official web page) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_%28novel%29 (Wikipedia).
The Novel (excerpt): http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Study Guide: http://www.tonyawards.com/pdf/Matilda_LessonPlans_lo.pdf (Penguin’s Classroom Classics).
Roald Dahl (British writer and screenwriter, 1916-90): https://www.roalddahl.com/ (official website), http://us.matildathemusical.com/creative/roald-dahl/ (tour bio), http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/8343 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001094/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahl (Wikipedia).
Matilda the Musical (2010 Stratford-upon-Avon, 2011 West End, and 2013 Broadway): http://www.matildathemusical.com/ (official website), http://us.matildathemusical.com/tour/ (U.S. your website), http://uk.matildathemusical.com/ (West End website), http://www.timminchin.com/matilda/ (Tim Minchin’s web page), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-show/matilda-the-musical-493193 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001094/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_the_Musical (Wikipedia).
Study Guide: http://matildaschoolresources.com/cdn/pdfs/Matilda-Education-Production-Pack.pdf?019271238 (West End production).
Tim Minchin (music and lyrics): http://www.timminchin.com/ (official website), http://us.matildathemusical.com/creative/tim-minchin/ (tour bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/tim-minchin-493197 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2423358/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Minchin (Wikipedia).
Dennis Kelly (book): http://us.matildathemusical.com/creative/dennis-kelly/ (tour bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/dennis-kelly-73661 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2393111/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Kelly (Wikipedia).