Matilda: The Musical, the award-winning show from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), has come all the way from London’s West End to Dubai, where it will be seen for the first time in the GCC.
Cast members talked about how excited they were for the show and what they thought about it. Gemma Scholes, who plays Miss Honey, talked about how excited she was to act in Dubai at the beautiful Dubai Opera.
The actors said that the Dubai version of Matilda has some changes to the plot but is still in English. They also talked about their characters. Mr. Wormwood, played by Matthew Rowland, is a crook, and Mrs. Wormwood, played by Emily Squibb, is a vain and not-so-nice mother to Matilda, the extraordinary little girl with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination who is ready to stand up and change her own fate.
Three different Matildas Opera play different parts in the production. This keeps the cast on their toes and makes each show fresh and new.
James Wolstenholme, who plays Head Teacher Trunchbull, talked about how excited he is about performing at the Dubai Opera and how he gets jealous of Bruce’s character because Bruce gets to eat a whole chocolate cake during a scene.
We talked to the cast members, who told us how excited they were to be acting in Dubai, how they felt, what they had experienced, and what makes this production special and a must-see for theater fans everywhere. Some parts of the interview:
How do you feel about Matilda going to Dubai?
It’s really cool. Dubai Opera is a great place to be, and I’m glad I’m here. The theater and stage are amazing.
You have to force a child to eat a whole chocolate cake in one scene. What can you say about that?
It’s really fun. To be honest, I’m a little jealous. Bruce is the one who gets to eat the chocolate cake and ends up covered in it. I’m always a little jealous because I want the cake too. Nutella is used to make the cake, which looks and smells great.
Thanks for coming to Dubai! How do you feel about playing at the Dubai Opera?
Very happy. Dubai is a huge item on my “bucket list” because I’ve never been there before. Dubai Opera, the theater, is really very grand. It made us say “wow” when we first walked in. It’s really exciting to be able to bring the show here.
Around the world, Matilda is rewritten in different ways. Could you tell us about the version you’re going to do in Dubai?
Yes, the version we have now has a few small changes. The script is different from the London version in a few ways. I started with the London show in 2018, so I worked there for a while. It’s a little different, but everything is in English. People who don’t speak English as their first language should be able to connect with the show.
Have you always been interested in theater? How did you get the part of Miss Honey in Matilda?
After getting expert training, I graduated in 2016 and did a few shows. One ended in London in 2017, and I was lucky enough to go right into Matilda. It took a long time to learn how to audition—maybe 12 times. I was lucky to be able to go from one London show to another. We’ve been together since 2018. If I didn’t love the show, I wouldn’t be doing it.
What do you like most about being Miss Honey?
The part I like best is when she shows how strong she is at the end of the show. You could feel her strength growing as the show went on. As an actor, I like when she finally blurts out in the song “My House” how she really feels. It’s an important part of the character’s story.
Your voice sounds great. Did anyone teach you anything special?
Many thanks! In London, I went to Bird College, which taught me everything I needed to know about singing, dancing, and acting. After training, you keep learning and getting better at your job. I hope that my voice keeps getting better over time.
This is the first time you’ve ever performed in this area. How do you both feel about the play?
Hi, Matthew Rowland. It’s really cool. Dubai Opera is a great place to perform, and we’re excited to be here.
Emily Squibb: There are also 2,000 seats, which is a huge crowd. The theater is one of the biggest ones we’ve been in. We first set up shop in Tel Aviv, so this is only our second site.
There are three different Matildas that you will work with. What has it been like working with different artists for the same role?
It’s been great, Matthew Rowland. We had a boot camp where each Matilda and I practiced scenes one after the other. The fact that each show is a little different makes it hard but fun. It’s better to be in the present and react to what you get as it happens when you’re acting.
You should do it. It’s fun. They push us, and we push them back. Each of the three Matildas is different, which makes each performance special.
Who are Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood? Tell us about them.
Matthew Rowland: Mr. Wormwood is dishonest because he sells broken-down cars. He loves his wife, but he thinks she’s better than him. He wants to make money for his family, which drives him.
Sarah Squibb: Mrs. Wormwood is haughty and rude. That her daughter would like makeup and other things she likes just like she does. Matilda is smarter than her, and she doesn’t know how to deal with her. It’s fun and hard to play that part.