NME After Print - The magic that is Matilda the Musical


Roald Dahl has been a favorite in our family. His books, full of imagination, had given my family and me great moments of joy. From The BGF to The Twits, his books offer some interesting situations. But it was Matilda that grew to be one of our absolute favorites. The book and the feature film were our go-to for our kids when we needed a break.

So, imagine my excitement when I learned Matilda the Musical would be coming to Popejoy Hall. My daughter, Abby, and I walked into the theater to see a colorful show curtain and waited for it to rise. The show was exciting from beginning to end. Jaime MacLean was the perfect choice for Matilda, the girl who didn't let her age limit her. Brandon McGibbon and Darcy Stewart as Matilda's parents exceeded my expectations - fulfilling the disgust I felt for them in the books, but bringing such high-energy entertainment that you forget, for a brief moment, that you're supposed to dislike them.

The costumes were perfect, the set design excellent and the choreography divine. The cast was a well-oiled machine, having some of the most talented kids I've seen on one stage. The book to this show was creative and, just like the published work, imaginative. Songs like School Song, that used boxes of the alphabet in an explosive dance number left me mesmerized. The Latin number, Loud, between Zinnia (Stewart) and Rudolpho (Stephen Diaz) explaining to Miss Honey (played by Paula Brancati) that it's more important to be pretty and stand out than be smart was outrageous and I found myself cheering for the woman that I was supposed to have contempt for. But it didn't last long.

I loved how the second act began, with just (actor's name - father) on stage, accompanied by dim-witted son, Michael, (played by Darren Burkett) performing a song about his love of television and how it's so much better than silly books (Telly). But when it came down to the character that would steal the scene every time they were on stage, it was Miss Trunchbull (played by Dan Chameroy) that took the cake. Whether it is working with an Olympic ribbon or drilling the importance of physical fitness to the children, Chameroy committed to every moment and truly made this character come to life.

Matilda the Musical managed to offer a different view of the childhood classic while staying true to the book and showing the love of the film. This is a wonderful production for the whole family.

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