Cappies Review: Mount de Sales’ “Matilda”

Brian Kraft, Guest Writer, Perry Hall

Green hair, chocolate cake, and even a little bit of magic are just a few of the trademarks which await audience members at Mount de Sales Academy’s contagiously energetic production of “Matilda the Musical.”

Originally a children’s novel written in 1988 by Roald Dahl, the Tony award winning musical “Matilda” has seen many adaptions on screen and stage. The musical details the life of its title character, the brilliant Matilda Wormwood, a young girl gifted with telekinesis who possesses a deep passion for reading. An outcast of her own home, Matilda is sent to school by her parents with the hope that she will become better socialized, only to find herself later navigating a world full of rebellious children, a bully for a headmistress, and a beloved teacher who recognizes Matilda’s true potential.

From the opening number, Mount de Sales Academy proved that their cast possesses an obvious arsenal of talent. Anchored by intense choreography, powerhouse vocals, and impeccable comedic timing, their cast brought high energy through the entirety of the production, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats and bursting out into gut-splitting laughter continuously.

Naomi Brinker stole the show in the title role of Matilda. Marked by perfect mannerisms and obvious attention to the smallest characterizations, it became clear to audience members that Brinker possessed true dedication to her role. Her performance in the role of the young child was endearing, proven by her innocently sweet, childlike voice and soft singing voice which stood out in her solo songs “Naughty” and “Quiet.”

Maya Nellum’s portrayal of the bubbly Miss Honey was nothing short of captivating and endearing. Playing a true juxtaposition to Nellum was Theresa Kirby as Miss Trunchbull, who brought her character to life with each whistle blow and true hatred of the “maggot” children in her school. Standout performances of the production include the fiesty Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood (played by Isabelle Somma and Austin Wisniewski, respectively), Bruce (played by the truly hilarious Ana Novotny), and Patrick Scott as the comedic, salsa dancing Rudolpho.

The technical crew made each of their decisions noticeably unique for this production. Contrasting low-lighting in heartfelt scenes with the violently red glow of scenes involving Miss Trunchbull, lighting was very much appropriate for each individual scene. The MDSA Stage Crew made scene changes quick and efficient, interactive sets designed by MDSA Theatre Arts Class were especially impressive, and the pit orchestra comprised nearly entirely of student musicians brought the challenging score to life.

Mount de Sales Academy’s production of “Matilda the Musical” brought together a truly talented group of students to deliver a very enjoyable performance. Get to Mount de Sales Academy, or you just may find a newt in your knickers!