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Photo: Alan Dean Photography

Theatre Review: Orpheus Musical Theatre’s Matilda the Musical—until 12.01.19

By Samara Caplan and Laura Gauthier on November 23, 2019

Laura and Samara spend their days as non-profit unicorns and fill every spare minute exploring the world of musical theatre as BFFs (that’s Broadway Friends Forever).

Based on the book by Roald Dahl (well known for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), Matilda the Musical tells the story of a special and talented girl stuck in a world where she is unnoticed and unappreciated. Also a popular 1996 movie starring Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, Matilda is a story that will resonate with both kids and adults.

Born into a family that doesn’t want her, and attending a school where children are treated like maggots, Matilda works to find what is right in the world and a place of happiness for herself. With music and lyrics by comedian, actor, composer and songwriter Tim Minchin, the score of Matilda has a rock undertone with a few tunes that become instant earworms.

Those who are fans of the film will notice some pretty drastic differences in the stage production. This includes some changes in storyline and a bit less of the magic you may be used to from the screen. A fun, light-hearted (with often some dark undertones) led by a strong cast of kids including our night’s Matilda (the role swaps between two actresses due to the heavy demand of the role) Shelby Shannon-Caines. You often forget that you are watching kids and not a stage full of professionals.

You often forget that you are watching kids and not a stage full of professionals.

Some interesting lighting choices, where most often only spotlights were used, left the rest of the stage in darkness and made a lot of the little extra quirks that add to the humour and storytelling of the show almost impossible to see. Otherwise the cast and sets were great and moved the story along perfectly. Some other outstanding performances included Paul Melsness as the Doctor and Escapologist, Hilary Peck and Graeme Park as Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood and Cooper Dunn as Bruce Bogtrotter.

Throughout the story Matilda harnesses her inner power leading a revolution in hopes of showing the world that no matter your size, you can leave your mark, because sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.

Listen to some of our favourite songs from the show in our Spotify playlist below.

Matilda the Musical continues at Meridian Theatres until Sunday December 1st, 2019. Shows are Friday, Saturday, Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Tickets cost $27-$57. The show runs about 2 hours and 35 minutes with intermission.