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VIDEO: Students slide into childhood with Matilda the Musical at Oak Bay High

Students on stage in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre March 1 to 9

When Justin Scott tried out for the Oak Bay High musical this year, he had the role of Bruce in mind.

Those in charge of casting, however, saw him tackling a bigger challenge when Matilda the Musical takes the stage this spring.

Instead, the Grade 11 student portrays Miss Trunchbull, a 49-year-old cranky principal who doesn’t like kids in the musical adapted from the Roald Dahl book.

He’s learned a lot about Trunchbull in his endeavour to be her on stage. And he’s digging it.

“If I have any anger in the day, I know it’s coming out on stage,” he said with a laugh.

Scott can’t wait to belt out Smell of Rebellion.

“I love that song. I don’t know what it is, but it portrays Trunchbull,” Scott said. “It just screams Trunchbull.”

Matilda the Musical is his second foray into musical theatre in his second year at Oak Bay High – having moved to the community just days before Christmas in 2021.

He previously attended an arts school that focused on dance, music, drama and art but not musical theatre.

Friends and faculty recognized he might enjoy it and encouraged him to join the Chicago production last year.

The people and the energy left him excited to participate again.

Now as one of the older students, he’s enjoying the leadership and watching peers as young as Grade 9 “grow into the arts. It’s very inspiring.”

It’s also the second high school musical for Evie Faber, the Grade 11 student who plays the librarian. However she also brings 11 years of community musical theatre with Kaleidoscope.

Like Scott, she sees the irony in a shift from the mature-themed Chicago students staged last year to the youthful perspective of Matilda this year.

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“I think we adapted to it really well,” she said. That’s in huge part due to the dedication and commitment of the cast and crew. Faber noted they spent nine hours a day working on the weekend in the final push ahead of opening night March 1.

“It’s been incredibly fun,” she said. “Everyone’s having so much fun, we don’t mind spending so much time here.”

The show features a huge selection of alive, animated group numbers and a ton of frenetic energy, balanced with touching and sweet quieter moments, she said.

For her, the When I Grow Up bit is a “full circle moment” where they sing about how great life will be as an adult.

“Now we’re becoming those grown adults. That’s my favourite of the show,” she said.

Matilda the Musical is on stage in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High on March 1 and 2 as well as 6 through 9 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee on March 3 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students, available at the Oak Bay High website, school office at 2121 Cadboro Bay Rd. and at the door.

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Shelly Ben-Dor plays the lead Matilda in the Oak Bay High musical running March 1 through 9 in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Shelly Ben-Dor plays the lead Matilda in the Oak Bay High musical running March 1 through 9 in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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