If you are looking for an extraordinary set, great costumes and fun kids singing and dancing, this is the show for you. If you are looking for more meat and excitement, it won’t be found here. “Matilda” has been on my list of shows to see since I first heard it was playing in London in 2011. However, I left the theater feeling disappointed and am sorry to say, I found this version of “Matilda” mediocre at best. My standards for big Broadway shows are high. This one fell so far short and paled in comparison to “Pippin” which is also a competing show at the moment and at the top of my list of shows to see.
The first and last song of the show were by far the best. The others were bland and some I wondered why they were even added. There were times I found myself zoning out and truthfully, I felt no emotional connection to any character.
Oona Laurence played Matilda. She was a sweet little girl and I enjoyed her portrayal of the character. The kids were certainly the stars of the musical. Throughout the show I kept thinking she looked like a mini Hermione Granger. Miss Trunchbull was played by Chris Hoch who was the understudy. He played a female role and was mean but comical. This year, the Tony Award for the Best Featured Actor in a musical went to Matilda’s father, Mr. Wormwood, played by Gabriel Ebert. He walked around the stage with flimsy chicken legs and was absolutely annoying. When I realized he won the award, I was dumbfounded, lets leave it at that. Ryan Steele is an incredible dancer who has fans galore. He left “Newsies” where he danced like a crazy man every night, to be part of this shows ensemble where his stage time is minimal and he does not show off his incredible talent. Very unfortunate choice.
What was I hoping for? Musical numbers that were entertaining. A story that was close to the magic the movie and book were. Instead, this focused more on Matilda telling a story within a story, rather than her time at school and relationship with Ms. Honey. Yes, this show completely wins for best scenic design and lighting design (Tony Awards were rightfully given here). However, tricks up your sleeve doesn’t get you to first place. Well, not in my book.
For those of you who have already seen this, I want to hear your take. To those who haven’t, please see it and let me know your thoughts. More info here: http://us.matildathemusical.com