Literary villains and heroes brought to life this weekend in Matilda


Reb Bodet would be completely delighted if you believed he was a woman this weekend.

Well, as womanly as the very large, overbearing and loud matriarch of Crunchem Hall, Ms. Trunchbull, could possibly be.

As the villainous matron of the children’s school that served as the backdrop of Roald Dahl’s classic tale, Matilda, Bodet brings the larger-than-life personality to the stage with grace and a quiet hostility.

In the book, Dahl describes the school’s headmistress as “a gigantic holy terror, a fierce tyrannical monster, who frightened the life out of pupils and teachers alike. There was an aura of menace about her even at a distance, and when she came up close you could almost feel the dangerous heat radiating from her as from a red-hot rod of metal.”


In the Eastern Shore Repertory Theatre’s production of the Tony award winning show Matilda The Musical, Bodet brings a femininity to the character.

“This is actually funnier, I’m not playing the character this way for laughs but we’ve given her a much more feminine side,” Bodet said. “Which is funny because it’s a linebacker who walks around and thinks she’s beautiful.”

To transform into the Crunchem Hall beauty, Bodet’s wife, Anne Bodet, coats his skin in light coverup, leaving just enough of his moustache to raise eyebrows. She pencils on a perfectly huge beauty spot just to the side of his nose, and paints on lashes that would make a runway model swoon.

And Bodet is committed to the character. He even shaved his legs for the roll.

A pretty pink lipstick is etched onto his pout and poof. Bodet is Ms. Trunchbull, or as Dahl described her, “neither a thing of beauty nor a joy forever.”

In auditions, Bodet said he didn’t know that the character was in fact, female. Traditionally the part is played by a man to make the character feel more menacing.

“I didn’t realize Trunchbull was a Ms. until the cast was announced,” he said. The Theatre 98 alum said the toughest part of transforming into the brutish woman, was dressing.

“The buttons are on the wrong side of the shirt,” he said with a laugh.

The show will run Friday through Sunday this weekend in Fairhope. It is directed by Erin Langley, with choreography by Matthew Kiel and Chloe Theriot and music direction by Michael Seward.