Anything but maggots – Matilda the musical


Rebecca Rakowitz, Staff Writer

Let’s start with the bad news. The bad news is that the director of Matilda the Musical took their lyrics to heart that “sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.” Being a little bit naughty, they threw the audience a bunch of curveballs.

The best advice I could have gotten before seeing the show was to throw everything I know about Matilda out the window. In a cast of four rotating Matilda’s, “my” Matilda, Milly Shapiro, immediately shocked the crowd as she took the stage with her frizzy blonde locks, throwing the brunette and bangs image immediately out the window.  As British accents floated through the theatre, you realized you were much closer to Roald Dahl than Danny DeVito. Taking on a technique infamously used in Hairspray, this musical had the butch and rotund head mistress, Miss Trunchball (Chris Hoch), be played by a man. This, along with other changes in the plot, was unexpected, yet welcomed, and so I am brought to the good news.

The good news is, none of the bad news ruined the show. Though a little disappointing at first, each change made it a show all its own that grasped the audience’s attention from start to finish. Even the intermission was interactive and entertaining. The talent shown in this young cast is unmatched and proves that children are definitely not maggots. The choreography that they mastered was so impressive in fact, that I hardly remember the songs, because I was so grasped by the dancing. The only thing that perhaps matched the choreography was the interactive geometric scenery that caused you to literally read (as is Matilda’s favorite activity) between the lines.

As I watched my favorite scene from the movie, Bruce Bogtrotter’s cake-eating punishment, I was in awe as he seemingly really ate the cake. This was no amateur “shove it in the sleeves of your shirt.” I genuinely have no idea where that cake went. That, along with a series of other even more impressive special effects, made me surprised that there wasn’t a disclaimer before the show saying that anyone with heart problems should probably leave. Between the strobe lights, lasers, and spontaneous confetti cannons, my heart leapt out of my chest on more than one occasion.

This extremely talented cast produced a fun and family friendly show that had everyone in the audience leaving with a smile ear-to-ear. It was breathtaking and inspiring, dramatic and hysterical, and infused the best parts of the Matilda we know, with a new one that you soon learn to love. This show is one that I would see again in a heartbeat and that I highly recommend. Definitely a must see. I only give it five stars because I was told I am not allowed to give it six.