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An inspiring, heartbreaking, captivating masterpiece, 'Matilda' revels in the anarchy of childhood

Northwest Children's Theater and School will present "Matilda the Musical" through Jan. 5 at the theater located at 1819 NW Everett St. in Portland.

The musical is based on the book by Roald Dahl, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and book by Dennis Kelly. "Matilda the Musical" will spark a revolt on the NWCT stage. An inspiring, heartbreaking, captivating masterpiece, "Matilda" revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and a girl who won't let being "little" stop her from putting an unjust world right.

Showtimes are at noon and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 15, 21-23, 26-30, Jan. 1-5. A sensory-friendly show will be held at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 15; the show will be interpreted in sign language at noon Dec. 21 and an audio-described show will be offered at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 21.COURTESY PHOTO  -

All good superhero stories need a despicable villain — and "Matilda" offers a few. Most of the adult characters in "Matilda" are either terrible, cruel or paralyzed by low self-esteem. The young students of Crunchem Hall must deal with the child-hating, bully headmistress Miss Trunchbull (played by Portland comedian Kevin-Michael Moore) and in true Roald Dahl fashion the circumstances go from bad to worse.

The situation becomes so dire that Matilda Wormwood (Ella Carson), an unassuming and brilliant bookworm, has no choice but to start a revolution.

"Matilda is strong without apologies," said Carson. "I admire her ferocity and perseverance. She does everything in her power to improve things for the other kids, no matter the cost." Matilda becomes a superhero, and she inspires her classmates to stand up for themselves as they sing "Never again will she take away my freedom, and we won't forget the day we fought for the right to be a little bit naughty."

"'Matilda' sends a timely message to kids that they can advocate for themselves," said Sarah Jane Hardy, NWCT's artistic director. "When children hear that they can write their own story, they are empowered to change the world around them. I hope this show motivates families to talk with their kids about their unique perspectives."

The show is recommended for ages six and up, but it is a departure from the more sentimental holiday shows NWCT has previously presented.

"The music is delightful, and the lyrics are hilarious," said Hardy, a Brit herself. "But it is a British style of humor, more satirical and dark than many popular American musical comedies."

For tickets and more information visit nwcts.org or call 503-222-2190.

— For The Review, Tidings


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