Ever since it’s initial announcement earlier this year, theatre goers have been waiting in anticipation for the local adaptation of ‘Matilda: The Musical’ and the show has finally arrived in Johannesburg. After an impressive run in Cape Town, the production is now showing at Montecasino’s The Teatro – and it’s easily one of the best on-stage productions South African audiences will see this year.
Like the movie, the production is centred around a remarkable little girl named Matilda. Matilda is the daughter of two emotionally abusive parents and has found solace in reading. It’s her escape from her life in a way. While Matilda was excited to start school, she is introduced to the cruel headmistress Miss Trunchbull, who believes in Crunchem Hall’s motto: “Bambinatum est Magitum,” or “Children are Maggots.” She finds companionship in her teacher, Miss Honey, though well-intentioned, is shy and fragile. Matilda knows she needs to stand up to the horrible grown-ups around her and in doing so, discovers magical powers.
‘Matilda: The Musical’ is an exemplary piece of theatre and we’ve put together five reasons why this is your must-watch production for 2018:
The Cast Is Fantastic!
Putting together a show like ‘Matilda: The Musical’ comes with its own set of challenges. The production relies a lot on the use of children and the title character has a massive amount of lines, choreography and songs to learn. However, Lilla Fleischmann, Kitty Harris and Morgan Santo, the three girls who alternate the role of Matilda, not only do an exceptional job, but shine on stage. The girls truly bring the character’s empathy, confidence and defiance to life and effortlessly deliver a world-class performance which rivals that of many actors four times their age. Ryan de Villers blew us away as Miss Trunchbull. He’s incredibly mean-spirited and frightening but he ensures the audience feels a connection to the evil headmistress regardless and one cannot look away when he is on stage. Stephen Jubber and Claire Taylor are incredible in their portrayal of Mr and Mrs Wormwood and guarantee to give you lots of laughs. Bethany Dickson reigns it in as Matilda’s devoted teacher Miss Honey while Nompumelelo Mayiyane is a star as Matilda’s confidant and librarian Mrs Phelps. Matilda is joined by the other pupils at Crunchem Hall Primary School who will be played by Jack Fokkens, Keeran Isaacs, Robyn Ivey, Joshua LeClair, Levi Maron, Ipeleng Merafe, Megan Saayman, Taylor Salgado, Cameron Seear and Zac Gabriel Werb. The remaining adult company is made up of Jasmin Colangelo, Katrina Dix, Sinead Donnelly, Michael Gardiner, Kent Jeycocke, Weslee Lauder, Carlo McFarlane, Kenneth Meyer, Daniel Parrott, Adrianna Patlaszynska, Jonathan Raath and Logan Timbre.
The Set And Music Is World-Class
The team behind ‘Matilda: The Musical’ ensured that the story was the strongest element of the production and, like the international production, the sets aren’t extravagant – which is something that works entirely in their favour. The sets are simple enough to share Matilda’s story while easy enough to manoeuvre and ensure that the flow is effortless – something that adds a lot of value to the production. This isn’t to say that the set is bland. Every little detail was thought of and there are moments in the production, especially when Matilda discovers her powers, that is set to wow audiences. We especially loved the border of blocks and letters around the stage. Not only is it interesting to look at but it adds to the learning environment the production pushes for.
Musically, the production has everything you’d expect from a musical. The show has a blend of incredibly catchy sing-a-long tracks and some ballads which elevate the mood of the story. All this adds to the exquisite choreography of the show and makes it an incredibly fun show to watch. The casting of Matilda was great and the girls really give the musical element of the show their all.
The Message Is Powerful
What’s a good musical if audiences aren’t able to take a learning home with them? Luckily, ‘Matilda: The Musical’ has a lesson for audiences young and old. Not only does Matilda teach audiences to stand up for what they believe in no matter the consequences, but the production also shares the power of friendship, knowledge and, most importantly, finding a light when faced with a world of darkness.
‘Matilda: The Musical’ is now showing at The Teatro at Montecasino until 2 December before heading out to the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town between 9 December – 13 January 2019.
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