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Friends Select Student News Media

The Falcon

Friends Select Student News Media

The Falcon

Cappies Reviews: Matilda at Archmere Academy

Free Use Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Free Use Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Sarah Gorenstein

“Platinum blonde hair dye. Extra strong. Oil of Violets hair tonic. For men,” a pinch of naughtiness, and a miracle… the perfect recipe for Archmere Academy’s Matilda! The company phenomenally captured both the levity and rebellion of the classic children’s tale.

Written by Dennis Kelly with music by Tim Minchin, Matilda is based on the loveable novel by Roald Dahl. The musical follows Matilda Wormwood as she enters school for the first time. When her kind-hearted teacher, Miss Honey, discovers Matilda’s hidden talents they quickly form a bond. However, not everything is smooth sailing. Matilda must face her ignorant parents, and her authoritarian headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. With a sprinkle of courage and telekinesis, Matilda leads her classmates to do what’s right, and perhaps be a little bit “naughty” along the way.

The cast of Archmere Acadmey’s production transported the audience straight into the storybook. The ensemble played a critical role in bringing the narrative to life. Fortunately, the performers were anything but “revolting” and were ready to give it their all, elevating large group numbers to lively heights with energy and enthusiasm till the final bow. The whole cast was comprised of strong vocalists and versatile dancers, whose mixes and high kicks filled the stage with vitality. Archmere Academy undoubtedly brought joy to the stage with compelling numbers like “Miracle” and “Revolting Children,” which showcased the talent of the ensemble as a whole. 

Maggie Shelton flawlessly embodied Matilda as she led the show with considerable talent. Her performance anchored in brilliant acting and strong vocals, captivated the audience. Her portrayal was a standout, excellently capturing the resilient yet youthful aspects of Matilda. Bridget McNamara’s performance as Miss Honey provided the perfect parallel to Shelton’s tenacity. Her stellar voice stunned the audience, shining through in numbers like “My House.” Both Shelton and McNamara effortlessly spoke with British accents, which demonstrated the skill that went into bringing their characters to life.

“Just you wait for Phys-Ed” with The Trunchbull! Jack Roarty fantastically portrayed Trunchbull’s tyranny and bruteness. Roarty displayed terrific vocal artistry and humor in the number “The Smell of Rebellion”, grasping both laughter and applause from the audience. Additionally, Sam Wahl’s amusing deliveries and physical comedy as Rudolpho heightened the production. 

The Archmere Academy stage crew admirably executed the transitions between scenes, not a cue was missed. The colorful lighting choices for Matilda were enhanced with excellent follow spots, operated by Connor Wood and Helen Socorso. Furthermore, the Publicity team creatively designed shirts, bookmarks, and themed gift baskets to promote the show.

The cast and crew at Archmere Academy have certainly proven that “even if you’re little, you can do a lot.”


Patrick Ryan

Archmere Academy’s production of Matilda will have you wanting even more stories with its blend of knock-out humor and beautiful vocals.

Matilda, based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name, follows a young girl who has a very strong sense of right and wrong, and her adventures as she begins her years of schooling. She gets more than she bargained for, though, as she discovers evil headmistresses and magic powers.

The strongest element of Archmere Academy’s production was its comedy. Nearly every scene had moments of well-executed humor. Line delivery was especially good in this respect. Maggie Shelton was an ideal Matilda; her snarkiness sold every scene she was in. Gabby Fernandez perfectly sold childhood mischievousness in her performance of Lavender. Her interactions with the audience as she warned of her prank were hilarious and were made even funnier with her exaggerated wink to the audience as she placed a newt in her teacher’s water. Jack Roarty was also supremely funny, playing The Trunchbull. Roarty’s physical humor was top-notch, taking advantage of his costume’s fake breasts for some hilarious moments.

That’s not to say other components of the show weren’t strong, though. Throughout the show, vocals were excellent, especially from Bridget McNamara as Ms. Honey. McNamara’s performance of My House was exceptionally moving. Jack Maister, playing the Escapologist, sang beautifully in My House as well. Maister was unfortunately somewhat hard to hear in the first act, but his visual acting and use of space more than made up for it. Jack Roarty also had incredible vocal moments, especially at the end of The Smell of Rebellion.

The audio of the show was a particularly impressive piece of Archmere Academy’s Matilda. Henry Bellace had a very difficult task, managing 33 microphones across two soundboards, all while competing with a live orchestra, but he balanced the entire cast expertly. There were a few moments in which it was difficult to hear vocals, but Bellace adapted in the moment to fix any issues.

Archmere Academy’s production of Matilda was storybook-perfect.

Sam Goldwert 

Archmere Academy’s production of Matilda was a very enjoyable experience from beginning to end. Unlike the schoolchildren, the performance was anything but “pathetic”!

Matilda is based off of Roald Dahl’s famous children’s book of the same name, following a precocious young girl ostracized by her family for her intelligence and love of reading. When she begins elementary school, Matilda learns that she has telekinetic powers, and her kindhearted schoolteacher, Miss Honey, becomes very fond of the girl and later adopts her. The show ran on Broadway from 2013-17 and has since toured regionally and internationally many times.

Archmere Academy’s cast brought personality and spirit to the well-known story, and the production’s technical elements beautifully enhanced their talents.

The titular character of Matilda is a difficult one to portray for many reasons, including her age and her complex personality, but Maggie Shelton perfectly encapsulates her clever, mischievous, and determined nature with grace and personality. Shelton’s performance was supported beautifully by Bridget McNamara as Miss Honey, her teacher and later her adoptive mother. McNamara’s comforting and sweet demeanor made for a very convincing character, and her powerful vocals left audiences stunned with her heart-wrenching performance of “My House”. Jack Roarty was flawless in the role of The Trunchbull, the sadistic, child-hating headmistress. It is no easy task to maintain such a high-energy role for the entire show, but Roarty garnered well-deserved laughs and applause every time he was present onstage.

However, the large ensemble is what gives the show its signature spirit. The large cast of rambunctious schoolchildren was particularly strong, especially during dance numbers such as “Revolting Children” and “When I Grow Up”. Featured actors such as Caileigh Crane (Bruce), Brianna Cubbler (Mrs. Wormwood), and Gabby Fernandez (Lavender) all brought complexity and nuance to their characters while consistently enhancing Matilda’s story.

The technical elements of the production were equally noteworthy. The stage crew innovatively used projection and subtle set features in technically complex scenes involving telekinesis or a character appearing to eat an entire chocolate cake in minutes. Henry Bellace controlled an impressive 33 microphones, effectively ensuring each and every performer could be heard throughout the entire theater.

Overall, Archmere Academy created a production that was impressive from both a performance and a technical standpoint. Those who have not been so clever as to purchase a ticket should strongly consider it, or else risk being sent to Chokey!

Saije Milligan-Swinney 

Archmere Academy’s production of Matilda the Musical was truly a miracle with a talented leading cast, an energetic ensemble, and impressive technical elements.

Based on the 1988 book by Roald Dahl of the same name, Matilda tells the story of Matilda Wormwood. A smart young girl living in a world where very few people truly acknowledge her brilliance, until she is sent to school where she meets Miss Honey. Matilda is faced with the task of dealing with her neglectful family while also freeing the students and teachers from headmistress Miss Trunchbull’s wrath.

Maggie Shelton as Matilda was able to bring a lot of childlike innocence to her performance. Despite her being around the same age as everyone else in the cast, her believability as a young child made the emotional moments, particularly in Act II more impactful. Other stand-out performances came from Bridget McNamara and Jack Roarty as Miss Honey and Miss Trunchbull respectively. The rivalry between the two characters really shined through their performance, especially in numbers such as “The Hammer” and “The Smell of Rebellion”.

The Wormwood family including Jonah Tonn as Mr. Wormwood, Brianna Cubbler as Mrs. Wormwood, and Sam Ryan as Michael Wormwood were all hilarious and elevated every scene that they were in. Mr. Wormwood’s improvisational crowd work at the top of Act II was very in character and brought a lot of laughs as a way to levitate the drama brought during the Act I finale.  The show’s ensemble was also quite impressive as well and brought very well-done performances to the show. One of my favorite ensemble moments was “Revolting Children”, possibly the most well-known song in the musical. The vocal energy was very high throughout the number, especially from Caileigh Crane as Bruce. Even with the slightly challenging choreography, their voices and harmonies were able to shine through without sounding shaky.

The technical aspects of the show were also very well executed. Henry Bellance did a great job of running the mics in the show. Thirty three mics for one person to run is not an easy feat, despite this the microphones seemed to run quite smoothly. One issue that occurred during the show were a few instances where the orchestra would overpower the cast onstage and it was a little hard to hear them, however, this didn’t happen often.

Archmere Academy put on a truly fantastic show that will make you wish that you could watch it again and again on your telly.

Maria Emerick 

What happens when a young girl decides to stand up to the adults in her life? Find out at Archmere Academy’s production of Matilda!

Matilda is a musical by Dennis Kelly with music by Tim Minchin based on the 1988 children’s book of the same name by Roald Dahl. Matilda is a 5 year old girl with a love for reading and telling stories. Her school principal, the Trunchbull, hates children and punishes them for small mistakes. Matilda makes a plan to defeat the Trunchbull once and for all.

The cast of this show brought an enormous amount of energy to their songs. The costumes were gorgeous and the steampunk pieces added a unique flair to the production. The shiny cape the escapologist wore was absolutely stunning. The cast also made great use of their space, making the school feel alive and full.

The role of Matilda was played by Maggie Shelton. Shelton’s singing was so pretty and suited Matilda perfectly. Her acting was amazing especially during the quieter emotional moments like the escapologist and acrobat scenes.

The supporting characters were equally impressive. Jack Roarty as the Trunchbull brought an awesome threatening presence to the stage, while also bringing hilarious comedic energy to his scenes as well. His singing was also great during his solos. Bridget McNamara as Ms. Honey had a beautiful and strong voice, and she wonderfully portrayed Ms. Honey’s fear of the Trunchbull. Brianna Cubbler as Mrs. Wormwood had splendid comedic timing and had a fantastic voice.

Henry Bellace ran an impressive 33 mics. Every actor on stage had a mic. They were at a consistently great volume and you could always hear the actors well without them being overpowered by the music or background noise. The ensemble moments were especially impressive.

You must have enjoyed Archmere Academy’s production of Matilda or you’re going to Chokey!

Clara Gluzdov

Murder, cruelty, and lies! Hold on to your books and pigtails when you see this show, for the Trunchbull could turn on you any second. The wonderful cast of Archemere Academy Theater presents an exciting performance of Matilda.

Roald Dahl wrote the book Matilda, which was later written into this lively musical.  It opens up with a miraculous music number and the birth of our protagonist, Matilda. Matilda grows up in a neglectful household with two inadequate parents. Her father, Mr. Wormwood, is a cheat and liar who is blind to his daughter’s brilliance, instead focusing on his dimwitted son. Her mother, Mrs. Wormwood, is an eccentric bingo addict with a secret affair with her dance partner. When Matilda goes to school for the first time her genius is finally recognized by her kind teacher Miss Honey. After dealing with the wrath of The Trunchbull Matilda goes back to Miss Honey’s house and together they uncover the mystery of Miss Honey’s parent’s death.  The two work together to overthrow her and get Miss Honey back what’s rightfully hers. In the end, Matilda’s wicked parents give her up and let her live with Miss Honey.

The overall production was good, with minor issues here and there that were balanced out the by actors’ marvelous performances. Despite the music being too loud at certain points, the actors sang clearly and strongly with impressive skills. The dances were organized and the energy stayed high through the whole production. Everyone stayed engaged and in character, even when it was difficult to.

Maggie Shelton brought youth and energy to Matilda, as well as her brilliance and strong will. She sang clearly and impressively and was overall a wonderful presence. She spoke loudly and enunciated well, and portrayed the young girl like no other. Jack Roarty did an outstanding job as The Trunchbull, as well as singing very impressively. He brought life and sass to The Trunchbull, and comedy in just the right ways.

Jonah Tonn did an amazing job as Mr. Wormwood, excellently portraying his stupidity to a comical degree. His improved jab at the audience sure brought laughs at the start of Act Two.  Sylv Chen was as hilarious and youthful as Bruce, really helping portray the maggots. They did wonderfully, especially in the chocolate cake scene. Some honorable mentions were Katir Savitisky as the doctor, who wowed everyone with her outstanding voice, and Sam Wahl and his dancing as Rudolpho.

The sets were beautifully designed, making it known exactly what was going on. The costumes were outstanding, and it was incredible how much work the costumes crew did putting together so many costumes for each person. The sound was done well with little mistakes, and the lights were great.

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About the Contributors
Sarah Gorenstein
Sarah Gorenstein, Game Master

Sarah Gorenstein is a senior at Friends Select and the Game Master for the Falcon. She is also the lead Cappies Critic which specializes in theatre journalism. Her favorite movie is Clue and she is the leader of JSU.

Patrick Ryan
Patrick Ryan, Editor-in-Chief

Patrick Ryan is a senior at Friends Select and a co-editor-in-chief of The Falcon. Patrick writes about student life, city curriculum, and music. He also helps lead Quake, the Harvard Model Congress, and the Art for Access concert. Patrick spends his time dislocating his shoulder and reading books.

Sam Goldwert
Sam Goldwert, Assistant Editor
Sam Goldwert is a junior at Friends Select and an assistant editor of The Falcon. Sam covers everything from important news updates to fun crosswords and games. They're also a member of QSU and a diversity clerk for the Neurodiversity Club. When not writing, Sam can be found overanalyzing song lyrics or starting countless new art projects.

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