This classic tale of an extraordinary little girl who develops telekinetic powers has wowed global audiences for decades, with new musical productions and films ever on the horizon. Its stunning popularity was wonderfully evoked by King's young Year 6 actors, who played to hugely appreciative audiences with gusto and glamour over three fantastic nights.
Produced and directed by the charismatic Ms. Costanda, the Infant & Junior Division's Head of English, it rapidly moved from quick fire comedy to lyrical ballad and a fabulous finale all with elegant timing.
The daughter of verbally abusive parents, Matilda fares even worse at school, where she must face a tyrannical and cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, who believes wretchedly that “children are maggots.” Though she finds companionship in her teacher, Miss Honey, who is well-intentioned, but shy and fragile, the brave five-year-old knows she has to stand up against the adults in her world, and in doing so, she discovers her own remarkable powers.
The cast was brim full of young talent with Layla Whiteman embracing the perfunctory irascibility of Miss Trunchball, every inch as powerfully as Dame Emma. Rosa Walsh as young Matilda proved to be a natural actress, super dancer and melodic singer, beautifully signalling the ingénue's deep-seated sense of right and wrong. Sienna Murrells was an absolutely perfect Miss Honey, sweet natured, and a good role model to her pupils, timid and sometimes weak, but ready to change and stand up to her wicked Aunt.
Hasan Mousa, as Mr Wormwood, was the joker in the pack, giving a hilarious performance with immaculate timing that had the audience in stitches. Flo Eyre as Mrs Wormwood was suitably loud and insensitive and evidently only concerned about herself and her dance teacher Rudolpho, played by Jack Johnson, who was the next best thing to Giovanni in 'Strictly'. While William Forbes as Bruce Bogtrotter might be diminutive, he has an amazingly powerful voice and the delighted audience's ears.
The production had 70 Year 6 pupils on stage and as Ms. Costanda, who has been creating major school productions since she first started teaching in 1993, said, was a master piece of logistics: "It is a complicated show, with many songs and Tim Minchin's wordy, literary lyrics all delivered at a pace. The meticulous teaching of the songs by the talented Music Director Paul Vowles, enabled the children to learn every song, with accuracy. Once you add the dance moves, it can be very challenging, especially with the fast pace of the music. However, the harder we all worked, the improvements made by the children were excellent.”