Upper School Choice - chess

Matilda Brings The House Down

13th July 23

Students in Lower School (and two Upper School performers) pulled off a fun and fabulous production of the Matilda musical which played to full houses and smiling faces in the penultimate week of term.

Led by Head of Lower School, Karen Thomas, Deputy Head of Lower School Rachael Herman and Year 2 teacher Natalie Petzal, students spent hours rehearsing in order to produce a West End worthy production.

Karen told us: “It was wonderful to see it all come together and the thing I loved the most about it was seeing all elements of the school working as one to create the show. We had Jacob and Kitty from Upper School as Miss Trunchbull and Miss Honey, we had parents taking part in the opening number and so many staff helping to support the students who then took to the stage with an infectious amount of joy. I couldn’t have been prouder of all of them and everyone involved.”

Theatre critic (and grandmother to one of our Matildas) Judi Herman wrote this wonderful review of the production:

“Although the show begins with a terrific number from a group of proud parents (played by real-life KAS parents)  agreeing with their precious offsprings’ opening lyrics ‘My mummy says I’m a miracle! My daddy says I’m his special little guy!’, the parental approval is not unanimous. In the Wormwood household, young Matilda confesses ‘My mummy says I’m a lousy little worm. My daddy says I’m a bore.’ It is true to say she is a bookworm, and a precocious one too, with a reading age rather above her parents, who watch TV instead. Her Dad is only interested in getting rich quick by swindling wealthy businessmen, her mother in spending the money he makes. To add insult to injury, Dad insists on referring to their daughter as ‘boy’. Year 5 students Theo and Molly make totally convincing nasty pieces of work as poor plucky Matilda’s insensitive parents.

Lest you suspect Matilda is a goody goody, she puts the mockers on that by contriving to dye her Dad’s hair green and more… all the while singing the fun confession that she is ‘Naughty’.

Two Year 5s share the role of Matilda, starting with Lola in Act 1, who hands on to Alys just before the interval. There is nothing to choose between this pair of triple threats’ (they act, they sing, they dance), both with winning mischievous twinkles in their eyes and their smiles! They are clearly, delightfully, soul sisters.

And respect to anyone who has the sheer nerve to stand up to Miss Trunchbull, especially as ‘embodied’ (I use the word advisedly!) by the towering figure of Year 13 Jacob. He is certainly dressed to oppress, to emphasise his height, his build, with sinister instruments of torture strapped to his waist. He is simply, superbly, scary! Jacob has currently just finished studying UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts and is bound for a top theatre academy. I’m guessing his is a name to watch…

Lest anyone should think all grown ups are cast in the same mould as Matilda’s preposterous parents and the terrifying Trunchbull, we get to meet two quite different and equally delightful ‘adults’, both of whom have their part to play in fulfilling Matilda’s life and dreams.

Our heroine’s love for books (including her current read To Kill A Mockingbird), is eagerly fed by librarian Mrs Phelps. She is so convincingly played by another Year 5 Ella, especially as she is spellbound by the sad – and very grown up – story Matilda makes up about the love affair of the Acrobat and the Escapologist, which leads to both birth and death. The story is acted out with delicate poignancy by Ruby as the acrobat and Noah as the escapologist.

And last but certainly not least is Year 7 Kitty’s wonderfully gentle and empathetic and entirely appropriately named Miss Honey, the perfect teacher, who is there for her charges, despite her own problems, who recognises Matilda’s special genius and makes it her mission to help her to fulfil her promise and her dreams

The entire company demonstrate superb stage presence, and achieve the very real feat of enjoying being scared, of acting with their bodies, their expressions, their eyes – and each other. Watching the full company forming, dissolving and reforming tableaux was a jaw-dropping delight. If you were lucky enough to see this ‘miracle’ you will know what I mean. If you missed it, all is not lost as it was filmed – and I for one am looking forward to watching and sharing that too.

Huge credit to directors and creative team members, led by Rachael Herman, Natalie Petzal and Karen Thomas.”

Julie Herman

Click on the image below to enjoy a carousel of wonderful photos by Emma Ziff.

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