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Matilda: The Musical Shines at Dubai Opera – Exclusive Cast Insights

Dubai Debut, Script Tweaks, and Three Matildas for a Theatrical Delight


Dubai Opera is currently ablaze with the dazzling spectacle of “Matilda: The Musical,” a showstopping production by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) that has taken the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) by storm. Making its debut in the region, this multi-award-winning musical has traversed continents from London’s West End to grace the Dubai stage until October 15.

The stellar cast, brimming with enthusiasm, has shared insights into the production that has captivated audiences worldwide. Gemma Scholes, embodying the character of Miss Honey, couldn’t contain her excitement about performing in Dubai and the awe-inspiring Dubai Opera venue. The theatrical extravaganza, while maintaining its English-speaking essence, boasts some script tweaks tailored for its Dubai audience.

Exploring the intricacies of their roles, the cast members shed light on the eccentricities of Mr. Wormwood, portrayed by the talented Matthew Rowland, a charismatic crook dealing in broken cars. Emily Squibb, portraying the character of Mrs. Wormwood, revealed the challenges of portraying a vain and less-than-pleasant mother to Matilda, the extraordinary protagonist armed with an imaginative flair and a sharp intellect.

A unique facet of the Dubai rendition is the rotation of three different Matildas, injecting freshness and dynamism into each performance. This diversity keeps the cast on their toes, promising a distinctive experience for every show. James Wolstenholme, who brings Head Teacher Trunchbull to life, expressed his awe at the Dubai Opera venue, occasionally confessing a touch of envy for Bruce, a character who indulges in devouring an entire chocolate cake during a scene.

In an exclusive interview with the cast, James Wolstenholme shared his excitement about the Dubai debut, praising the remarkable Dubai Opera venue’s auditorium and stage. Gemma Scholes, thrilled to check Dubai off her bucket list, lauded the grandeur of Dubai Opera and the profound impact it brings to the show.

Reflecting on the adaptation for the Dubai audience, Scholes detailed the subtle script modifications while emphasizing the universal appeal of the show. Despite the language nuances, the cast aspires to resonate with a diverse audience, transcending linguistic barriers.

The journey to the Dubai stage was not devoid of challenges for Scholes, who landed the role of Miss Honey after a rigorous 12-audition process. Her favorite aspect of the character is the empowering moment when Miss Honey unleashes her strength in the poignant song “My House,” a pinnacle of emotional expression.

Matthew Rowland and Emily Squibb, in their first-ever performance in the region, expressed their excitement at the grandeur of Dubai Opera, with its colossal 2000-seat capacity. The duo, portraying the dubious Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, delved into the intricacies of their characters, shedding light on Mr. Wormwood’s ambition to amass wealth and Mrs. Wormwood’s comical struggles with her remarkably intelligent daughter.

The unique challenge of working with three different Matildas was embraced by the cast, with Matthew Rowland and Emily Squibb highlighting the thrill of the ever-changing dynamics, providing audiences with distinct and unforgettable experiences.

As “Matilda: The Musical” continues to enchant audiences in Dubai, the cast’s passion and dedication to delivering a one-of-a-kind performance remain unwavering. With each scene, Dubai Opera transforms into a magical wonderland, leaving an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of the GCC. For theater enthusiasts and novices alike, this production is undoubtedly a must-see, promising an enchanting escape into the world of Matilda’s extraordinary imagination.

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