Pulteney Grammar School
Wyatt Hall, Pulteney Grammar School
Until 22 May 2021

Review by Janice Bailey

“Matilda” is a well-known story by Roald Dahl. First published in 1988, Matilda joined the already loved catalogue of books such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which has also become a much-loved musical. “Matilda the Musical” was born in 2009, written by Denis Kelly with Music and Lyrics by Tim Minchin. Since that time there have been innumerable productions of this popular musical. Pulteney Grammar took on a mammoth project in staging “Matilda the Musical” and everyone involved in this production is to be congratulated for the success of the end product.

Director Jo Casson, Creative Director of Ding Productions, Musical Director Jonathon Rice, Learning Area Leader of Performing Arts, Production Manager Jamie Hibbert, Stage Manager Ali OConnell, Assistant Stage Managers Sam Hore and Jess Wolfendale, Choreographers Jo Casson, Rosanna Commisso, Kristen Lucas and Laura Brougham and Vocal teacher Annie Kwok have together created a production of the highest standard. The range of costumes was exceptional as was the number of props required for a production of this magnitude. Kym Wilson of Wilson Productions provided a set which worked efficiently in the large space. Mosaic Audio Visual provided the lighting and sound and their professionalism ensured there were no performance problems. Every other person – and there are too many to list – is to be congratulated for their contribution to this outstanding production.

A show can’t happen without all of the above and the many more who contributed along the way – but of course the performers are the stars of any show. Taylor Schwartz was an engaging and delightful Matilda, Oscar Bridges Miss Trunchbull was suitably unlikeable and created a character which everyone dislikes, Ella Woods Miss Honey was sweet and lovely and her vocals were a delight. The remainder of Matilda’s family, Mr and Mrs Wormwood, played by Harry Oates and Addi Schwartz and Michael, played by Edward Hoffensetz, all embodied their characters with effect. Each of the remaining lead characters – Bridie Callahan, Liam Goodes, Isabella Harsmaa, Madi Schubert, Angus Winter, Zara Pagnozzi, Abbey Wilkinson, Addison Ritossa, Hamish Wilkinson, Harry Marks and Quinn Sage-Hoff all demonstrated that they deserved a featured role. The featured characters, the big kids and the parents – and of course the hard-working ensemble – all contributed with energy and effect.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours – being entertained and in awe of the energy, spirit and sheer talent of all of the young people on stage and behind the scenes. Each one of them is very fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of a musical production, especially with the facilities and expertise at their disposal – none of it was wasted as each performer shone. Well done to everyone involved.