Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! at Keystone Theatrics At The Playhouse At Allenberry

Catch this hilarious, zany musical through May 12th

By: Apr. 28, 2024
Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! at Keystone Theatrics At The Playhouse At Allenberry
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The wildly hilarious musical comedy Something Rotten! is presented by Keystone Theatrics under the direction of Jeremy Slagle with music director Brandon Bitner, vocal director Amanda Nowell and choreographer Donna Lynch. Written by John O’Farrell, Karey Kirkpatrick, and Wayne Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten! follows Nick and Nigel Bottom, who are struggling to write a play to rival William Shakespeare. The show is filled to the brim with witty puns, double entendre, and references to Shakespeare’s works and well-known musicals. The production team and cast of Keystone Theatrics bring Something Rotten! to life through May 12th.

The set, costumes, and lighting set the stage beautifully and heighten the overall spectacle that is Something Rotten!. The orchestra, under the direction of Brandon Bitner and featuring Kristen Gaus, Lisa Collins, Matt and Sarah Topping, Ben Carraher, Bill Nork, Andrew Jackson, Mark Alexander-Gray, Andy Herring, Bill Perbetsky, Jim Janderchick, and Caleb Stelle, is fantastic, keeping up the energy as they maintain the fast pace of this zany musical.

Marcus Vogelsong opens act one and act two as the Minstrel, immediately capturing the audience’s attention with his smooth, clear vocals and expressive face. As the ensemble joins him on “Welcome to the Renaissance”, the choreography (by Donna Lynch), energy, and harmonies fill the audience with excitement to see what will happen next. The ensemble includes Travis Conrad, Mimi Dietsche, Elliott Evans, Travis Houtz, Aubrey Kyler, Sandy McInerney, Huy Nguyen, Ellie Weaver, and Kaylee West. The ensemble is totally in sync throughout the performance. Something Rotten! depends on the ensemble’s ability to take on multiple roles while singing and dancing their way through some hilarious scenes, and this group of actors is more than up to the challenge.

Ron Ross and Terry Sheldon take on the roles of Lord Clapham and Shylock, respectively. These characters are particularly interesting for their interest in the arts. Where Lord Clapham patronizes the theatre for the glory it shines on him, Shylock love theatre for its own sake. Ross infuses Lord Clapham with the perfect amount of arrogance and self-centeredness, which contrasts beautifully with Sheldon’s jovial, enthusiastic Shylock. Randy Stamm gives a wonderful performance as Brother Jeremiah, the Puritan who disapproves of things such as theatre. Stamm is a masterful comedian, and his comedy chops are on full display as he struts around the stage in self-righteous indignation while delivering lines heavy-laden with double entendre. His facial expressions and line delivery are simply perfect for this role. Ryan Boyles is another brilliant comedic actor whose skills are highlighted in his quirky role as Thomas Nostradamus, the nephew of the infamous soothsayer. His posture, gestures, and expressions are well-crafted as he embodies Nostradamus.

Tirza Byers is adorable as Portia, the daughter of Brother Jeremiah who longs for a life of love and poetry. While some of her lines are hard to catch because they are delivered too quickly, her interactions with Jonah McDonald’s Nigel Bottom and Randy Stamm’s Brother Jeremiah are fun to watch, and her lovely singing voice is highlighted in “I Love the Way”. Maggie Haynes is hilarious in her role as Bea, the independent, strong wife of Nick Bottom. Her versatile acting ability is on display as Bea pretends to be a host of other people in order to help support their household, and her skillful vocals are perfect for “Right Hand Man”.

TJ Creedon, Aaron Ayala, and Jonah McDonald complete the cast as William Shakespeare, Nick Bottom, and Nigel Bottom. Creedon’s stage presence brings the over-the-top rock-star persona of Shakespeare to life, and his interactions with Nick and Nigel highlight the character’s duplicitous, self-centered, fame-hungry nature. Ayala and McDonald are a compelling duo as the Bottom brothers. They bring the relationship between the brothers to light in all of its complexity with wonderful emotion and authenticity. The audience cannot help but empathize with each of the brothers as Ayala demonstrates Nick’s feelings of immense responsibility and fear of failure and as McDonald portrays Nigel’s desire to be true to himself while still helping his brother.

Something Rotten! is the perfect solution for those in need of a good laugh. Get your tickets for this side-splitting comedy presented by Keystone Theatrics at the button below.


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