BWW Review: MATILDA at NextStop Theatre Company
Within the black box confines at NextStop Theatre Company you can find what I would call one of the best family events of the year: Matilda The Musical. Matilda follows the original Roald Dahl story turned movie premise of a young girl with a love for reading and amazing super powers. Together with fun music, creative technical aspects, and amazing choreography, it's sure to entertain.
Firstly, I was blown away by the children's performances. It's impressive to see such young talent up on stage covering full tracks, particularly Katie Marsh, a local 6th grader, who played the title role of Matilda. It was so fun to see her antics as Matilda send the other children in the audience into a chorus of laughter. Her singing was sweet and sincere, particularly on her solo songs, "Naughty" and "Quiet". The rest of the children's ensemble was also exceptional. Consisting of Jonah Rosman, Finn Hargadon, Elizabeth Cha, Allie Blanchet and Nikki Smallwood, they carried multiple numbers like "Revolting Children" and "When I Grow Up" with energy and enthusiasm.
In addition the cast was also carried by the Wormwood family, consisting of Joshua Redford as Mr. Wormwood, Shayla Lowe as Ms. Wormwood, and Hailey Ibberson as Michael Wormwood. Together they played the most delightfully absent family, Redford and Lowe hilariously obsessed with money, television and ballroom dancing, and Ibberson chiming in with the occasional word or two!
Miss. Honey, played by Meredith Eib, was just as sweet as her name. A beautiful soprano voice that cut through the chaos of the show for moments of peace during her songs like "Pathetic" and "My House". The relationship she built with Matilda throughout the show was oh so touching and a very nice parallel to her parents.
Brett Cassidy as Ms. Trunchbull was absolutely hilarious, by far one of the best performances. He was equally intimidating and amusing. And I will never forget the laughter from the younger crowd in the second act when he screams "There's a newt in my knickers." Priceless.
I was also very impressed by the choreography by Nicole Marie Maneffa. I'm not one to really notice choreography, but it really stood out to me. It was energetic and child-like, perfect for the show and executed perfectly by the performers.
In addition I was blown away by the creativity in the technical aspects. There's so much storytelling in this show that requires a lot of critical thinking. Moments like when the rigged Matilda's cup to fall, or when Bruce's cake disappeared, or when they projected Matilda's telepathic writing were all extremely creative and were executed well.
This show is perfect for all ages, amusing for children and plenty to laugh at for adults, and the performances themselves are enough to keep anyone in between interested.
Matilda runs through December 22nd.
For ticketing, go to nextstoptheatre.org