[THEATER REVIEW] ‘Matilda’ (Jaks Youth Theatre Company)

Previous to tonight I had heard a lot about the musical Matilda based on the Roald Dahl novel I loved as a little girl. Today I finally go the chance to see it at the Jeanne Wagner Theater at the Rose Wagner Center for the Performing Arts Downtown. It was part of the Jaks Youth Theater Company which is a new group to me. New show, new group means lots of fun!

Like I said, Matilda is based on the Dahl book with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and book by Dennis Kelly. (If you want to see another fun show by Minchin check out Groundhog Day. You wouldn’t think it would work but it does!). Minchin brings a lot of humor into the songs especially the villain songs. That is definitely his strength.

Matilda tells the story of a little girl who just might be a genius named Matilda. When she starts school she’s already doing hard math and reading Dickens. Unfortunately she gets no help from her parents nor is her headmistress The Trunchbull any help. In fact, they are about as mean as you get.

Trunchbull singing ‘The Smell of Rebellion’ is one of the highlights of the show.

I also really enjoyed Mr and Mrs Wormwood (the program didn’t have who was who in the various casts). They sing a song called ‘Telly’ that was another highlight of Act 2

There were some audio and microphone issues that you always have with youth theater, but that was a small problem. For most of the show the production values were strong and the kids seemed to be having a great time, which is always the most important factor in youth productions.

When we got to intermission I wasn’t feeling the show. The songs were pretty bland, but the 2nd Act moved everything up a notch. It ended up being a really fun show that kids will have a blast starring in or helping to put on behind the scenes.

Everything else was done well by Jaks Youth Theatre and I’d definitely see one of their shows again.

7 out of 10

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