The Revolt of the Century

Klein Drama puts on its annual musical

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Orlane Ricci

Bruce finishes a monstrous cake at the end of the first act

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Put those books down and turn off those tellies, everyone, because when the curtains part, real quality entertainment will burst forth from the stage. In a vibrant interpretation of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s musical adaptation of “Matilda,” Klein Drama’s modern yet timeless take on Roald Dahl’s enduring classic is a positive miracle: hopeful, humorous, and poignant all the same, this show surely touched the hearts of many with its overflowing liveliness.
The story revolves around a young girl, Matilda, who is gifted with a superb intellect and a love for books, but she is unloved by her superficial parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, who abhor reading. At school, she quickly earns the disdain of the tyrannical headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, while the kind teacher Miss Honey resolves to help Matilda upon realizing her intellectual capabilities. Then, with the help of her classmates, Matilda incites a rebellion against Miss Trunchbull and successfully overthrows her before choosing to leave her cruel family to live with Miss Honey, her true protector and ally.
Although the story felt lacking in linearity, especially in the second act, it did reach a satisfying conclusion when Matilda found a happy ending of her own. It left an optimistic final touch on what was otherwise a laughably dark (and simultaneously saddening) story.
However, it proved difficult to focus on the story’s flaws when the performance itself was so engaging because every actor did an excellent job of bringing their character to life. Mrs. Wormwood in particular blew the crowd away, earning gasps from the audience when she revealed her dress for her number “Loud,” where she showed off her dancing skills — and yes, she did it in heels.
Miss Trunchbull, played by junior Greyson Guzman, similarly had an impressive stage presence. Everything about his performance, even down to his body language and clothing emanated intimidation. His upright posture, hands clasped behind his back, made it seem so that Miss Trunchbull perpetually domineered over the children whom she deemed maggots, while the militaristic design of his costume clearly conveyed his character’s fixation on obedience above all else.
As for vocals, Miss Honey, played by junior Adah Chamberlain, showed off her wonderful voice in her ballads. With lovely vibrato, her singing resonated throughout the auditorium in what were some of the show’s most emotional songs, letting the audience feel Miss Honey’s inner turmoil alongside her.
Meanwhile, the colorful set filled the entire stage with intrigue. No one portion of the stage looked boring; even in scenes where the actors were concentrated only on a certain side of the stage, efforts were made to liven it up a bit, such as having actual actors represent the escapologist and acrobat as Matilda told her gripping story in the library. The set of the Wormwoods’ house was always a welcome sight for the eyes; cruel though the Wormwoods may be, the cheery yellow wallpaper always seemed to anticipate whatever hilarious scene would come next. And let’s not forget the laughter that came from the audience when the massive Chokey dropped down and Miss Trunchbull commented, almost flippantly, “I’ve been busy.”
Overall, it’s truly miraculous that a production this successful could be put together by a force consisting mostly of students, but they pulled it off, and they pulled it off well. With glowing reviews across the board, Klein Drama’s production of “Matilda” is sure to go down as one of their most beloved shows of all time.