Even if you are little, you can do a lot!
by MICHELLE NEALE & DON HUGHES
5th June 2023
WHS presents Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical
WARRANDYTE High School’s Matilda will captivate an eager audience with high energy dance numbers, catchy songs, and a wonderful production.
On stage for four performances, from June 16-18, this is one production not to be missed.
Living with unappreciative and uncaring parents, Matilda Wormwood (played by Sophie Dibb) is sent to an excessively olde-worlde school – Crunchem Hall.
Armed with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination, Matilda dares to take a stand at this cruel and oppressive school, with miraculous results.
With the help of a kind hearted teacher, Miss Jenny Honey (played by Rhianna Cummings and Amber Gedge), Matilda uses her telekinetic abilities to settle the score after her tyrannical headmistress, Miss Agatha Trunchbull, brutally bullies her and her fellow students.
The diabolically evil Miss Trunchbull is superbly played by Curtis Konynenburg.
Bullies, however, can’t take on people who put up a fight.
The audience will be taken on a heroic journey of intrigue and wonderment as justice is restored.
Highlighting the senses, the visual glamour of the production will bedazzle an audience with sets and lighting by Gavin D Andrew, music by Tim Minchin, and an all-star cast from Warrandyte High School.
An array of fun effects has been added with pigtails being thrown around, magical chalk writing on black boards, and students (in particular, Bruce Bogtrotter played by Stephanie Lawry) being forced to eat whole Scrumdiddely chocolate cakes in three minutes.
The costume department, under Jho Suckling and Lilli Rose Lawrence, help showcase the fun, raucous and exciting characters with a smorgasbord of wonderful garments.
Keep an eye open for the injection of genuinely sourced local garments in When I Grow Up, a song that sees the young children looking at themselves in the mirror reflecting their grown-up selves.
See if you can guess what they become from just what they are wearing.
It is a truly touching moment in the show.
The overall student cast is superb.
Miss Honey, played alternately by Rihanna Cummings and Amber Gedge, is a heartening character and the epitome of the teacher we all wish we had.
Miss Honey is the only role which has been “doubled”.
Not because of any COVID protocols but simply because they both just suited the role perfectly.
Rhianna said “the production has been a lot of hard work but it’s worth it”.
As Matilda, Sophie Dibb, in Year 7, found herself in the title role in her first year at high school.
In this massive role, her beautiful singing voice, willingness to work hard and an innate cheekiness, makes her the ideal hero of this production.
“I feel lucky that I get to experience being part of such a great community and that I am able to be involved in this really fun performance in Year 7.
“I have worked very hard and I am excited to get the show on the road, and I really hope others will enjoy it as much as I do,” Sophie said.
Matilda Wormwood’s parents are truly horrible.
The audience will be teetering on the edge of their seats whether to laugh out loud, or just boo them off stage.
Playing the horrible Mr and Mrs Wormwood, Amber Robertson and Chloe Minogue, were both sceptical.
“We didn’t even like each other’s characters, but being part of this production has formed a new-found friendship.”
The hilariously evil Miss Trunchbull is superbly played by Curtis Konynenburg.
His wonderful blend of comic timing and portrayal of tyrannical brutality is reason alone to experience this production.
Bringing together this fine cast and ensemble is Director Gavin D Andrew.
Gavin said, “Matilda is an absolutely inspirational and fun show to direct.
“Roald Dahl can start off and then slowly (and often without you realising it) enter a heightened reality that if you sat and thought about it – couldn’t really happen – but somehow in a Dahl story it does.”
Gavin added, “Dahl makes a clear distinction between the heroes and villains and always makes sure the villains get their just desserts.”
A wonderful production is not just about a superb cast and a timeless story.
Gavin was quick to point out the enormity of the production encompassing not only the technical aspects of the show.
Broader support is required by not only students, parents and teachers and staff of the school, but also tentacles reaching into and strengthening relationships with the Warrandyte community.
Warrandyte High School uses its home advantage well.
“Having their own theatre is an absolute blessing,” said Gavin.
“It greatly assists with all aspects of the show, allowing students for example, to develop skills in lighting and audio over the course of the production.
“Many schools can spend thousands on these aspects of a production.”
Great support from parents turning up at working bees, handing out flyers or helping with hair and make up greatly enhances the overall production.
The plethora of support provided by school staff and teachers underpins and enhances the production in both a practical and magical way.
Lisa White, an art teacher, along with her band of students make regular visits to the theatre and keep adding to the fun and playfulness of the set.
Linga Naidoo, another teacher at the school specialising in woodwork, has been creating the foundation of the set along with some fun props that greatly assist in telling the story.
Gavin said, “Working closely with Jake Newton, Linga Naidoo and Lisa White has been an absolute joy for me.
“Even just walking into reception and the warm greetings from Bev, Anne and Sandra is always a lovely way to start a day.”
“Principal Rachel Lynch has been wonderfully supportive and even the intrepid groundskeeper, Bucky, seems to appear from nowhere whenever I need rescuing from a blown fuse or other calamity.”
Overall, an enthralling production not to be missed.
Well done Warrandyte High School.
For tickets, head to: trybooking.com/events/landing/1052960.