Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company set to perform Matilda

July 25, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Knowing that there are wicked characters, and scary scenes, as well as great friendship and very funny scenes, what are the very worst parts and the very best about Matilda were two questions the Citizen put to the young cast during our pre-production interview. The musical carries both in good measure and the young people were ready with answers.

They are doing four performances of Matilda, of the musical based on the original story, written by Roald Dahl, over this weekend of July 26 to 28.

For the most part, it was agreed that the terrifying Miss Trunchbull, the principal of Crunchem Hall, their run-down elementary school, and the ways in which she tortured her students was the darkest, the worst part of the story. 

“She’s the meanest woman in the world,” was the certain statement.

“She uses a narrow closet with broken glass and nails, shuts in one of the students.” we were told.

She is evil, as one observed, “The action is so wacky, it almost disturbing.”

Likewise, Matilda’s parents, especially her father, Harry Wormwood, abuses his daughter with insults and threats. 

Matilda gets her revenge: “She makes Mr. Wormwood’s hair go green and puts glue in his hat so it gets stuck to his head.” 

In the story, they told us variously, “this girl of 5 years old, her parents hate her and say she’s not smart – she doesn’t even watch TV.”

Her mother, Zinnia, leaves her at home alone even when Matilda is very little. 

However, Matilda relishes her time alone because it allows her take care of herself and read books. 

“The plot,” so they agreed, “isn’t the point. There’s a fantastic moral message – she [Matilda] is definitely not like anybody else.”

“Even if you’re little, you can see a lot,” remarked Kiara, the young actor playing the role of Matilda.

Indeed, during the course of the story, Matilda solves and saves in ways most unusual for a five-year-old.

Said others, “Matilda is showing how strong she is and we can all do that. We get to show this to a large audience and there are messages in it for everybody.”

At least half of the cast members play two roles or more during the productions. 

“It’s a cast of 24 but the show has a vast number of characters,” commented director, Pam Demetriou. “The cast runs in age from 10 to 16 years.”

“It’s fun but also hard work. In the end, you get to put on the show – make people happy,” one of the boys mentioned.

“Bruce has a huge cake and Miss Trunchbull forces him to eat the whole cake.”

As to what is the best about the show, they were in favour of the sweet teacher, Miss Jennifer Honey. 

One evening, she tells Matilda that, as a child, she used to live in the big house Miss Trunchbull now occupies and that is where her parents lived until they died and her father left his property to Miss Trunchbull. Matilda soon lights on to the mystery there.

Stars can only shine in darkness. 

They told us, “Conflict is obvious. Matilda’s reaction – you can apply that to anything twisted. It’s a juxtaposition of light and dark.”

The story brings out another skeleton usually kept tightly locked in a closet: “Also, they [the audiences} take away that the people put in charge of you were not always the best people.

“Matilda, who is only five years old, look how mature she is; Matilda is the most mature.”

Matilda is a genius and, before the story is finished, she develops and learns to control her psychokinetic abilities, by which she can move things without touching them.

In spite of the terrifying Agatha Trunchbull and hideous Harry and Zinnia Wormwood, the story ends well and “There are messages that matter but this show is just amazing, whimsical, magical.”

“Both a child and adult will enjoy it – a lot of people can.”

“The moral is very important and it’s fun to watch.”

Young “Matilda” commented, “Even though the character, Matilda, is supposed to only be five years old, they still gave her four enormous songs and lots of lines.”

Remarkably, Kiara was one of the first to be “off book,”  knowing her lines.

The author of this wild tale, Roald Dahl was born [1916] in Llandaff, Wales to Norwegian parents and was named after Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, just four years earlier. In his own life, Roald Dahl was a British spy, an ace fighter pilot, a chocolate historian and a medical inventor, much of which must have provided food for plots for some of his books. He wrote prolifically for children and adults. A couple of his stories were adapted for television by Alfred Hitchcock. 

He wrote Matilda, didn’t like it and then, wrote it again completely, when he finally “liked it vey much.”

Audiences coming to the Theatre Orangeville’s Musical Young Company will like it even better this weekend. Matilda runs from Friday evening, July 26; there are two performances on Saturday, July 27 and a matinee on Sunday, July 28. 

For tickets, go to the Box Office, 87 Broadway or the Information Centre on Buena Vista at Highway 10, by telephone on 519-942-3423 or online

One of the cast assured you, “It may not sound kid-friendly but it sure is.”

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.