Cle Morgan’s mother of a role as Mrs Phelps in Matilda the Musical

Cle Morgan as Mrs Phelps with Matilda.
Cle Morgan as Mrs Phelps with Matilda.

THERE was never any doubt in Cle Morgan’s mind that she was the right person to play the role of librarian Mrs Phelps in Australian production Matilda the Musical.

After all, she had the perfect inspiration – her mother.

“My mum is Jamaican and I really identify with the character,” Morgan, who grew up in Perth, said.

“Jamaicans can be gruff sometimes and yell their love at you.

“She inspired it and I found the character easy to get into because she’s not so dissimilar to my family: Jamaican, loving, loud and emotional.

“Initially I worried it would hurt my voice, but you get show-fit and I’m just able to do it eight times a week.”

Perth audiences might recognise the John Curtin College of the Arts graduate from her early television work on children’s drama series Ship to Shore before her time on Australian Idol in 2003.

Despite her television work, Morgan’s background is more in live band performance and her high school dance scholarship, along with singing and acting training, proved the triple threat to move into musical theatre for Hairspray in 2010.

Based in Melbourne, Morgan said it was the magic in Matilda the Musical that she loved most of all.

“It’s that little person taking on that giant ball of negativity and winning,” she said.

“It makes you feel that things like that are possible in life, so when you leave the theatre you have that nice, good feeling.”

Now a mother of three, Morgan said she was very in tune with all the parental figures on stage – good and bad.

“It’s a story about parenting as well,” she said.

“There’s a moment with Matilda and her dad at the end; a look on Dan Frederickson’s face (who plays Mr Wormwood) when he asks Matilda if she wants to go with Miss Honey.

“You can see this tiny bit of heartbreak in this evil character’s face. I get to watch that every night and it’s just so beautiful.”


What: Matilda the Musical

Where: Crown Theatre Perth

When: showing until May 7