Wednesday, November 1, 2017

theatre review - SOMETHING ROTTEN! - National Tour: ASU Gammage, October 31, 2017

Blake Hammond and Rob McClure
Photo by Jeremy Daniel
Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 5th.

"...Something Rotten! is an incredibly hilarious, original musical set in England during the time when William Shakespeare had just become a success. It's a wild and wacky show with a tuneful score featuring several showstopping songs that humorously pay homage to the musical theatre. It also has identifiable characters and a story with a lot of sweet and heartfelt emotions. After a fairly successful Broadway run the national tour stops in Tempe for a week with a cast who deliver the humor and heart of the show in spades....the plot follows brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom (Rob McClure and Josh Grisetti, respectively), whose theatrical company has hit rough times as they can't compete with the continued success of Shakespeare (Adam Pascal)....So Nick visits a soothsayer, aptly named Nostradamus (Blake Hammond), and pays him to tell him what the next big thing in theater will be, thinking he will finally find success....features extremely clever lyrics and upbeat music ...and a fast-paced book...that manages to incorporate not only hilarious shout outs to just about every famous musical of the past 100 years but also a slightly serious focus on the role of women in England at that time....the fact that it's entirely original, with a plot that goes in surprising directions, and has a very tuneful score actually makes it that much more of a successful achievement. The three male leads, McClure, Grisetti and Pascal, all played these parts in the Broadway production as replacements, so they are finely adept in the requirements necessary to deliver well-rounded performances....Hammond is an absolute hoot as the soothsayer...His performance of "A Musical," which is both a love fest to and parody of musical theatre that any fan will truly appreciate, is exceptional. ...Director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw ensures the comic moments shine but doesn't shy away from the few sweet, serious and romantic moments in the plot. His choreography provides a nonstop flow of fun and varied steps, including some incredible tap sequences that the hardworking ensemble delivers superbly....In a sea of serious original musicals and shows that are adaptations from other sources, you have to hand it to the three creators of Something Rotten! for coming up with an original comedy that is extremely hilarious but also touches upon some serious topics. While there are numerous memorable comical songs in the show, the sweet "To Thine Own Self" is a satisfying reminder to always be true to yourself and not let success go to your head. You will definitely remember the adept parody and humor, but the exceptional touring cast and succinct direction will guarantee you don't forget this very important and simple piece of advice that's the key to both personal and professional success.. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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