Roald Dahl’s Matilda Waltzes Into PPAC This Weekend

It’s girl power time in the city this weekend as the Providence Performing Arts Center presents Matilda, the musical stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel about a mischievous but intelligent girl who uses her powers of telekinesis to get revenge on her neglectful parents and cruel schoolteachers. 

The musical, like the book, is an award-winner, nabbing six Tonys on Broadway after arriving from Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company. Matilda is a precocious four-year-old ably played at PPAC by Jenna Weir during Thursday night’s preview performance — she’s one of three young actresses to take on the demanding leading role for the touring company. Appropriately enough, we brought our own preschooler to the show, who delighted in the conflict between Matilda and her cruel school headmaster, a stage setup that included lighted and ever-shifting alphabet blocks, musical numbers with students on swings, and a classic good-triumphs-over-evil tale that kids of any age can appreciate.

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In the real world, however, sometimes four-year-olds fall asleep at the most inopportune times, such as during intermission at a 2-1/2- hour play they’re really enjoying, but also is being staged at the end of a long school day. Is that a knock on Matilda? Not at all — in fact, our young seatmate loved the first act so much he argued vehemently to come back the next day and see the rest: that wasn’t happening … but the movie version has already been rented for an evening viewing tonight.

Meanwhile, you can get your tickets now for the PPAC performances of Matilda that include shows on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday a 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $21 to $93. Order from the PPAC website.

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