Pulteney Grammar School’s production of Matilda the Musical on the opening night was one of the most professional I’ve ever seen.
The passion, exuberance and enthusiasm of the performers, the professional teamwork of “behind the scenes”, and the coordination of pupils, past and present, performers, staff and teachers, all came together in an exciting, fast-paced successful show. Unfortunately, there are only three performances and they are all sold out. We hope the next production will have more performances available for more people to enjoy.
Wyatt Hall was the venue for the Matilda, the stage being extended to cover half of the whole area to accommodate the 60 or so performers, dancing and jumping around on the stage. The audience sat on three sides of the extended stage with the front two rows labelled as the “chokey” seats. Too many excellent people to name however I will try: Creative Director Jo Casson; Musical Director Jonathon Rice and his fantastic orchestra; superb Production Manager, Jamie Hibbert; wonderful Choreography by Jo Casson and Rosanna Commisso.
Jamie came and talked to us afterwards; which doesn’t happen very often to reviewers, in my experience.
The stage setting was simple and effective. Children’s blocks of different sizes and configurations became desks, soapboxes, tables and chairs, accurately placed by stage crew, often in darkness. Clever audio and visual effects were impressive.
The cast were all so passionate, dramatic, expressive and enthusiastic, it’s hard to single any out. I will mention Tayler Schwartz, as Matilda, who had a powerful presence and a great voice. Oscar Bridges, as Miss Trunchbull, was so convincing, I didn’t know she was a he! “Miss Chutney”, had a good singing voice too – Ella Wood as Miss Honey. Addi Schwartz and Harry Oates, as Mrs and Mr Wormwood were suitably crass and comical characters. Also I thought the doctor, Madi Schubert, had a lovely singing voice – singing into her stethoscope!
The props and costumes were also very good. And I think some of the “pupils” enjoyed seeing how untidy they could make them to express their rebellion!
Only two small things I could find for improvement and I’m sure these are just opening night challenges. Sometimes the sound of the orchestra was louder than the words spoken or sung, and we didn’t hear them properly. Also, front of house and the bar was a little disorganized, at the beginning and the end, which I’m sure will be rearranged for other performances.
I enjoyed the show so much, I’m now going to read Roald Dahl’s original book “Matilda”. I am looking forward to seeing the next production from Pulteney Grammar School.