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Best written reviews for “Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical” performed by Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. Reviewed on April 29, 2023.

Sophia Werthmuller

McLean High School


"You mustn't let a little thing like ‘little' stop you!"


Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical, based upon Roald Dahl's beloved 1988 novel, is a fantastical musical created by Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly. The plot follows the titular Matilda, a book-loving child who fights back against the cruel adults in her life. At once comedic and deeply touching, Matilda is a modern classic.


Wakefield High School's production truly displayed the spirit of the show. Anneliese Odegard was perfectly cast as Matilda Wormwood, with a strong voice and charming touches of movement that gave the character an engaging stage presence. Her friends, Lavender (Penelope Wagner) and Bruce (Carson Stadler), were quite endearing and believable as children. Mia Cummings was a great Miss Honey, effectively grounding the character in a pointed contrast to the unreal qualities of the others. As for the more villainous characters, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood (Rand McAvoy and Jhay Williams) flawlessly balanced comedy with tension; a sinister delight whenever they appeared. Even the brief appearances of Rudolpho (Nico Krug Weinberg), the hilarious dancer, and Sergi (Marcos O'Connor), the surprisingly sensitive Russian mafia leader, absolutely stole the show. Most of all, Kat Larrick was more than up to the daunting task of playing Miss Agatha Trunchbull, Matilda's terrifying headmistress. Larrick's brilliant use of vocal inflection gave Trunchbull command of the stage. Nearly every song was wonderfully executed, from the gentle care of "My House" to the ominous beat of "The Smell of Rebellion" to the high-energy climax of "Revolting Children."


Wakefield's Matilda featured excellent special effects, created by August Yates, Niko Godoy, and Marceline Castrillion, which seamlessly hid switches such as wig changes, a "magic" moving cup, and the transition from an actor to a doll. The larger-than-life swings featured in "When I Grow Up," iconic to the show, were an impressive prop inclusion. Marceline Castrillion, Gisel Bolivar, Adrian Ulm, and Amarica Khlen excelled at costume creation. The Escapologist's sparkling white jacket was especially notable for its otherworldly quality in "Acrobat Story IV (I'm Here)." Matilda's choreography was superbly enjoyable, thanks to Anneliese Odegard, Leo Myers, Jhay Williams, and Angie Sukhee. The ensemble of kids were also a standout, perfectly exaggerated and clear masters of physical comedy. There were minor microphone issues, but never enough to break immersion.


Poignant and funny, this performance was utterly engrossing. Wakefield High School's Matilda would inspire anyone to revolt with these revolting children.

Charlotte Nichols

St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School


Feeling bored of just watching the telly? Drive on down to Wakefield High School and catch their miraculous production of Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical!


Inspired by the 1988 Roald Dahl novel and 1996 film adaptation directed by Danny Devito, Matilda The Musical took to the Broadway stage in 2013. The narrative follows the story of a six year old genius, Matilda Wormwood, as she embarks on her first day of school. With the help of her fellow classmates and her school teacher Miss Honey, Matilda tries to navigate through a world of  "big, fat bullies," and she discovers that she may have her very own superpowers to help her.


With bright green hair and a thick cockney accent, Rand McAvoy hilariously portrayed one of the biggest bullies in Matilda's life: her father. McAvoy's physical comedy in this role was truly masterful. He established a clear power dynamic between himself and his daughter, as he constantly towered over and talked down to her, and his silly and fluid movements conveyed Mr. Wormwood's carefree, and slightly foolish persona. McAvoy also impressively maintained his authentic and amusing cockney accent even through difficult vocal moments, such as his show-stopping and hilarious number "All I Know," which had the entire audience laughing from start to finish. Taking on the demanding role of another bully in Matilda's life, was Kat Larrick as the frightening and merciless headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Larrick certainly did not back away from the daunting challenge that was Miss Trunchbull, and instead, approached the character with force. Larrick remarkably maintained a hunched, terrifying posture, as Miss Trunchbull who constantly focused downward to scare the school children, and used small idiosyncrasies, such as the intimidating movement of fingers right before "Revolting Children" which cleverly showed Trunchbull's growing irritation and outrage. Equally impressive was Larrick's vocal inflection and stamina.  Larrick vacillated between moments of sweet baby-talk, to powerful and horrifying yells, and even to movements of high belting in songs such as "The Smell of Rebellion."


Mia Cummings as the sweet and slightly insecure schoolteacher was another highlight of the show. Cummings' portrayal of Miss Honey was kind, charismatic, and natural, as she navigated her way through trying to help Matilda, whilst also trying to regain her own confidence. Cummings' gentle and heartwarming acting performance was only strengthened by her astonishing vocal abilities. Her warm tone and soothing vibrato soared throughout the auditorium in songs such as "This Little Girl" and "My House," bringing tears to the eyes of many audience members.


The costume team, led by Marceline Castrillion, Gisel Bolivar, Adrian Ulm, and Amarica Khlen perfectly dressed each character and contributed to the overall tone of the production. From Mr. Wormwood's cartoon-like plaid suit, to Miss Honey's warm and floral dresses, to the gloomy and forlorn school uniforms, the costumes were all superb. Also helping to immerse the audience in the world of Matilda were the sets, created by Niko Godoy, Jack Ploetz, Kat Larrick, and Isaac Souryal. The sets were extremely versatile throughout the entire show, ranging from alphabet blocks that doubled as the children's seating and scenic decoration, to the walls that doubled as Matilda's house and her happy place, the library, to Matilda's bed that unfolded into the living room couch in just one second.


"Just because you find that life's not fair, it doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it."  Wakefield High School's heartwarming and triumphant production of Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical teaches the important lesson of standing up to the "big, fat bullies" of the world, no matter how big or small you may be.


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