On Saturday, April 7th, I had the pleasure of viewing the 2015 smash musical, “Something Rotten” performed by its 1st National Touring Cast when it visited the Orpheum Theatre. I have been excited to see this show for months and trust me, it did not disappoint.
“Something Rotten” tells the story of two struggling writers in the English Renaissance, Nick and Nigel Bottom, who are suffering in the shadow of one of the greatest “bards” of their time: William Shakespeare. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot to those wanting to see this show with fresh eyes soon, but there’s a lot of joking, dancing, musical theater references, and of course a small preview of the Bottom Brother’s greatest hit, “Omelet: The Musical.” This show is such a treat for anyone who loves a good laugh.
Most of you who have read my articles on Odyssey know that I am a literary, musical theater, and tap-dancing junkie, so a show full of jokes poking fun at Shakespeare and the greatest musical theater hits and show-stopping tap-dancing numbers is going to a dream come true for me.
There were so many fun jabs at Broadway shows and Shakespeare throughout this show that I didn’t even catch upon first hearing and only noticed when listening to the soundtrack later that night. For instance, only after looking at the Playbill did I realize that the Bottom Brother’s theater troupe, which Shakespeare was kicked out of, also featured names like Quince, Flute, and Snout. If you are a Shakespeare nut like myself, you may recognize these names as the names of the poorly organized theater troupe that is featured in “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” Coincidence? I think not. There were also so many references to “Cats,” “A Chorus Line,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and many other shows that had my little theater-kid heart elated.
My family sitting next to me at this show can attest to the fact that I was laughing so hard at all the jokes that my asthma flared up a little bit. Seriously, I couldn’t stop coughing at some parts. Anyone who knows me well knows that means I find something extraordinary funny. The comedy and overall writing of this show were top notch and had me in stitches for the full two-and-a-half-hour performance.
The dance numbers in this show were also exquisite. I know that they were mainly there for laughs, as the characters were poking fun at how pointless dance breaks are to the plot of a musical, but the tap-dancing had me in awe the entire time. The sounds were crisp and clear, and every nuance was delivered with a sharp flair. I think my favorite of any of the tap dancing had to be the little duel that Shakespeare and Nick Bottom had through their tapping toes. This little number made me wish that all of my arguments could be had through a tap-dancing duel.
Overall, “Something Rotten” has become one of my new favorite shows and I hope that any person who loves a good comedy will check this show out in the future.