Matilda Jr.

Date 19th October 2023
Society Ellesmere Port Musical Theatre Company
Venue Gladstone Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Liz Legerton
Musical Director Liz Legerton
Choreographer Rob Stevens
Lighting Derek Boseley .DA Lighting
Written By Roald Dahl


Author: Joanne Rymer



It has been three years since the last Footloose junior production., far too long. What a spectacular return we all experienced with the wonderfully quirky Roald Dahl’s Matilda JR. This is a musical primarily for kids and their parents the atmosphere on arrival was incredible, everyone chatting excitedly waiting for the performance to start. Matilda is a story of a girl who dreams of a better life and for the children she inspires, who are out to teach the grown-ups a lesson.

The five year old Matilda Wormwood (Rachel Horton) has astonishing wit, intelligence, loves books and storytelling and her special powers! She lives in a TV-loving family with a dodgy used car salesman for a dad (Mathew McGorian), an enthusiastic amateur dance fanatic for a mother (Liv Hanraman) and a lazy elder brother Michael (James Bryant) who mostly ignore her. Unhappy at home her escape is the library, where she befriends librarian Mrs Phelps (Megan Pritchard) who loves Matilda’s imaginative stories, her favourite being the tantalising story of an escapologist (James Gardner) and an acrobat (Phoebe Cheffings). Soon she is off to Miss Trunchbull’s (Imogen McNeill) primary school, Crunchem Hall where her teacher, Miss Honey (Brooke McHugh) recognises her remarkable ability, she tries to stand up for her pupils with headmistress Miss Trunchbull’s who hates children and loves thinking up new punishments for those who disobey her.

Liz Legerton’s creative direction ensures the talents of all the young cast is showcased to the best of their ability, in this high standard production. The prime-coloured alphabet adorned stage and set was spot on, costume, lighting, sound, all helped in the creating of this splendid show. Rob Stevens choreography was sensitively levelled to a mixed ability cast, creating both exciting and creative performances. Musical Director Liz dlelivered the shows musical numbers very well, not overpowering their young voices..

There were performances that need an individual mention, Rachel Horton was a lovely Matilda, a strong and sympathetic young actress with strong vocals and good stage presence, her rendition of both ‘Naughty’ and ‘Quiet’ were splendid. Imogen McNeil full bosomed Miss Trunchbull, a convincing wicked character, loved her ‘The smell of Rebellion’ hilarious. Liv Hanrahan was splendid as the dance crazed Mrs Wormwood, great comic timing, she was hysterical. Well Done, Liv. Barnaby Bradburne as Bruce, wonderful voice, one to watch for the future, well done. Isla Scott as Lavender, the bright, charming friend to Matilda. Lovely performance. We know that a successful production is more that the principal players, congratulations to Lalla, Anna, Sophie, Pippa, Rosa, Reese, Charlie, Heidi Jones, Ruby, Aidan, Bella, Heidi Hodgson, Daisy, Eva, Florance, Millie, Fraya, Ava and Darcie. It is necessary to mention that this adventurous producttion meant that the cast were playing two or more charactors, quite an acheivement.

 Shows like these always make for a great introduction to the live performing arts for young people, with a cast of thirty, it was clear, right from the start that every single one was not only fully engaged in their roles, they were enjoying every minute of it too. Their enthusiasm was infectious, lovely to see, I would like to think the friendships made on and off the stage create lovely memories for this young cast.


Thankyou so much for inviting me, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, I feel Footloose ‘s future is  bright. with such young talent is in good hands.I hope to see you all again soon.


Joanne Rymer


District 4