First of all if you don’t know anything about the story of Matilda based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG), this show will delight you and your kids and if you have read the book this performance will bring your imagination to life.
This production is a collaboration between Virginia Stage Company and The Governor’s School for the Arts. Get ready for some amazing children and teen actors. They hold their own among some solid professional actors in this production. Your children and teens will undoubtedly enjoy not only the large cast production numbers like School Song, When I Grow Up and Revolting Children but also simply enjoy being engaged by a story spoken and sung to them by their peers.
Now in true Dahl fashion the adults can be cruel and behave more like bad children than the actual children. Matilda’s parents and the Headmistress prove no exception. However, not all adults are bad in this musical and the ones that are good are very, very good…like wise the ones that are bad, are horrid.
No spoilers in this review but let’s just say that you and your kids will love the world’s largest burp, the stretchy ears, the slow motion flight of a pig-tailed child, the paper airplanes and really anytime Rudolpho (Matthew Tiberi) is on stage dancing, speaking or simply standing there. Mr. Tiberi’s Rudolpho is hilarious.
There are a couple actors we have to mention, my 9 year old daughter’s favorite was the lead actress Mesgana Jackson who played Matilda. She had a wonderful voice, strong acting chops and had us enchanted the whole show. She was especially engaging when telling her very interesting and beautifully performed story to the kind and supportive librarian Mrs. Phelps (Laura Agudelo).
Broadway veteran Abby Church created an angelic character in Miss Honey. Miss Honey’s character was express all the more thanks to Ms. Church’s voice. Her strong belt blended seemlessly thru a mix and into a crystal clear upper register. Ms. Church’s portrayal leaves you wishing everyone could have a teacher like Miss Honey in their life.
Agatha Trunchbull played by Mr. Chris Blem was a hoot and a holler and then some. When Trunchbull was onstage you couldn’t take your eyes off her. Not only did Mr. Blem steal scenes as Headmistress Trunchbull but his voice was pure velvet when he portrayed the Escapologist father in Matilda’s story. Mr. Blem managed the magnificent feat of giving two enthralling performances of two roles that were opposite in every way, in one show. Simply excellent.
The show has a great twist that we won’t give away. It is a wonderful family friendly musical. We brought two third graders. I suspect younger ones would enjoy it too but definitely bring your upper elementary, your tweens and teens. And don’t think this show is only for kids. It is hilarious and has enough adult moments that you will forget I said to bring the kids.
The music is great, the musical numbers are high energy and though the set is simple looking it is complex in it ability to morph into whatever the imagination needs. Keep an eye out for the larger than life book of The BFG. The production props are just enough to amaze you but not overwhelm the already overwhelming amount of dialogue both sung and spoken that you need to follow to get all the humor of this very funny, very well done, very Dahl production.
Every member of the cast was strong. And in the words of the certain cast members there was not a “revolting worm” in the bunch. Well done cast and crew of Virginia Stage Company, your production of Matilda is definitely worth seeing!
For tickets, show times and more information visit The Virginia Stage Company.
Reviewed by Olivia Bada – Equity/CAE/ACTRA , M.M.
WilliamsburgFamilies received tickets to review this show. The opinions are our own.