​OREM — Roald Dahl‘s Matilda the Musical at the Scera Shell Outdoor Theatre was a blast. The kids onstage were energetic and excellent performers, and the kids in the audience were engaged and excited. I brought my 8-year-old daughter, and we both had a great time!

Show closes July 17, 2021.

Director DeLayne Dayton brought the show to life. The scenes were well organized on the huge stage, and she made some musical numbers seem so powerful with the sheer amount of people involved in the ensemble. She also had plenty of key moments that worked perfectly for this show, like when they used flashlights on a darker stage to emphasize the end of Bruce’s song, or when she had Matilda and her imaginary characters speak simultaneously. I loved how she pulled off all the stunts, like having a harness on the girl who gets swung around by her pigtails. She also cast a lot of acrobats! I was amazed at the amount of flips, handsprings, and aerials this show had. It brought so much fun kid energy to the space.

Ashley Carlson choreographed the dances, and they were each so creative and enjoyable to see. I loved how the parents of the spoiled kids were made to look robotic as they danced. The airplane moves during Bruce looked really cool with everyone moving on stage together with arms out. The doctors all coming out with jazzy movements was hilarious, especially with their smart doctor coats with sparkling sequin belts. All the costumes were great, designed by Deborah Bowman. I especially enjoyed Mrs. Wormood’s outfits!

Mark Ohran designed lighting and he was “spot-on.” In fact, while the spotlight followed the character after the sun had gone down, the bugs that got in the way looked just like fireflies due to the bright light, and that was a nice touch to the show! During the song, “Quiet,” the lights turned blue with white spotlights, making it look sad and peaceful at the same time. Then Miss Honey’s house was lit up in a warm pink, which fit her character and her little sanctuary so perfectly. I loved how the lighting intensified powerful moments for the kids, like how red lights showed how they were fighting back against the Trunchbull.

Scott Rollins as Miss Agatha Trunchbull and Brandalee Streeter as Miss Honey. Photos by Rachael Gibson and costume design by Deborah Bowman. Location at Pioneer Book.

The acting was phenomenal for a community theater. In fact, after listening to Mr. Wormwood talk awhile, I was sure they had somehow gotten David Tennant from Dr. Who. However, it was Scott Hendrickson, a local Utahn, with such a glorious English accent that so resembled the eleventh doctor. Hendrickson’s energy was so fun. He opened up the second act, interacting directly with the audience and even getting them to do the wave. Mrs. Wormwood was played by Corinne Adair, who was fantastic at her role and put out as much flair as an actress possibly could. Adair was talented with dancing, singing, and acting, which made her an amazing triple threat for this show.

Of course Matilda, played by Gemma Sanders, must be mentioned. She was so small and young and yet had the most powerful voice and a great English accent. Her acting was superb, and I would love to see her when she’s all grown up and gone to Broadway. In the scene where Sanders as Matilda is telling the story she made up, Matilda goes into the depth of the love the parent has for his child; it was amazing to see how clearly Sanders and Matilda portrayed that story being about her and her need for love. I loved how at the end, Matilda and Miss Honey (played by Brandalee Streeter) cartwheeled in unison just after the lights went out. It was so cute to see those two have a fun moment in celebration of the show they both worked so hard on.

I was so happy with how they cast Miss Agatha Trunchbull. Scott Rollins played a very effeminate yet sinister principal of the school, who loved to show off her talents, especially in front of the kids. Rollins as Trunchbull had the best stare-downs with the kids and teachers, and the way he made the discouraging remarks in such a sneery way was just right for the character. Rollin’s crowning moment was when he does a flip during the kid’s gym class and lands on the huge cushion pad with a loud splat. It was priceless!

This show was a fun show for The Scera to do, and it was so perfect for the outdoor theater. Although I did appreciate the quality of sound, I wish they hadn’t had it turned up so loud. I think the decibels were in the ear-harming zone, and I had a hard time paying attention sometimes, because the sound was so irritatingly loud. Other than that, the show was amazing, and I’d highly recommend it for all audiences, young and old!

Matilda the Musical plays at the Scera Shell Outdoor Theatre (699 S. State Street, Orem) nightly (except Wednesday and Sundays) at 8 PM through July 17, 2021. Tickets are $10-$16. For more information, please visit their website.

This review was supported by a generous grant from the Orem CARE program.