The dark cleverness of Roald Dahl’s books may not fully translate to the musical stage, but adaptations have been done four times (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach and Matilda the Musical) and all save Fantastic have been wildly successful. Matilda the Musical, now playing at Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista, succeeds there too, even if there’s way more talking than music in its two and a half hours.
What enlivens the production are some first-rate performances, including that of Charity Rose, a budding star, as Matilda, the genius girl with special powers whose parents shun her. In fact, all the child actors in Matilda impress. On the grown-up side, there’s Randall Hickman, whose gender-bending turn as the awful Miss Trunchbull is a frightening delight.
(Review originally published in San Diego CityBeat on 11/24/19.)
David L. Coddon is theater critic for San Diego CityBeat