Review: SOMETING ROTTEN! at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre

Welcome to the Renaissance--SOMETHING ROTTEN @ CVLT

By: Mar. 30, 2023
Review: SOMETING ROTTEN! at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre

SOMETHING ROTTEN!, now on stage at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, has been seen locally in a Broadway touring production, as well as professional staging, and now is on the community theatre circuit.

It is getting a very creditable production at CVLT under the adept direction and choreography of Marc C. Howard.

History books refer to THE BLACK CROOK, which opened in 1866 in New York, as the first musical. However, according to Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, the conceivers of SOMETHING ROTTEN!, that honor should go to OMELETTE.

Never heard of OMELETTE? Unless you've seen the delightfully funny SOMETHING ROTTEN! you don't realize that OMELETTE is an in-joke at the center of a farcical plot that exposes how the Bottom brothers outsmarted the Elizabethan era's literary rock star (insert horn-tribute), William Shakespeare, in producing the world's first musical.

Nick and Nigel Bottom, an ego-centric actor and his naïve playwright-poet brother, live in the theatrical shadow of the Bard of Avon. They desire to take some of the attention away from (insert horn-tribute) Will.

How to do it? (Easy), they pay a soothsayer, a maybe-nephew of the famous soothsayer, Nostradamus, to look into the future. His prediction? Shakespeare's greatest hit is going to be OMELETTE and the next big trend in theatre is going to be musicals, where the actors sing many of their lines. So (of course) the duo starts to one-up Will by writing a musical play about fried eggs.

We observe Shakespeare as "a hack with a knack for stealing anything he can," who swipes not only the title, but plot devices and lines from the naïve Nigel, which turn out to be "Will's" HAMLET. (Oh, HAMLET, not OMLETTE.) As the soothsayer says, to audible groans, laughter and applause at the final curtain, "Well, I was close!"

From its opening, the creative "Welcome to the Renaissance," to the "Finale," the musical is classical theater gone awry, complete with show-stoppers, encore after encore, ridiculous sight gags, double entendres, cross-dressing, and sexual allusions.

There are numerous references to the Bard's plays and Broadway musicals. Anyone not familiar with either of these topics might not get all the subtext.

Too bad the director couldn't find some way to let those less-informed members of the audience the illusions by using vaudeville inter-act signs or some other device to help them. Also, the "omelette" dance number, the highlight of most of the stagings of the show, is rather uncreative in costumes and development.

In the highlight performance, George Bailey is excellent as the up-tight obsessive Nick Bottom whose mission in life is to out-bard the Bard. This guy can sing, dance and develop a clear and consistent character.

Joshua Budd amuses as Shakespeare, flitting around the stage, the obvious superstar of the Renaissance, (and, confusingly, the only one with a heavy British accent).

Ev Brodsky is charming, as the shy poet-writer, Nigel Bottom.

Emily Sedmak is lovely and sings well as Portia, the Disney-like princess, Nigel's' lady love.

Abby Longshore is women's lib-correct as Nick's put-upon wife.

Tom Jones (in spite of a horrible wig) delights as the bumbling Nostradamus.

David Coxe musical direction is right on key. The songs are well interpreted and the large, well-tuned orchestra, doesn't drown out the performers.

The costumes leave much to be desired!

The supporting performers all dance and sing with enthusiasm.

Capsule judgment: The ultimate test of the worth of a production, is the audience's reaction. In the case of CVLT's SOMETHING ROTTEN!, the in-production laughing, applause and after-the final curtain comments by the audience, were positive feedback. If you like musical theater, and want to experience a nicely conceived community theatre production this is it!

For tickets, for the show which runs until April 15, 2023, go to: 440-247-8955 or Click Here June 2-18.

Next up: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG. The farcical play within a play on which on opening night everything that could go wrong, does go wrong!


Review: THE SHOW THAT GOES WRONG at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre Photo
Review: THE SHOW THAT GOES WRONG at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre

What did our critic think of THE SHOW THAT GOES WRONG at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre? In 1923 there was THE TORCHBEARERS.  In 1982 the stage was filled with hysterical disasters during NOISES OFF.  Now there is THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, the zany Laurence Olivier Award winner.

Review: DOUBT: A PARABLE At Beck Center For The Arts Photo
Review: DOUBT: A PARABLE At Beck Center For The Arts

What did our critic think of DOUBT: A PARABLE at Beck Center For The Arts?

Review: WALKING TO BUCHENWALD at Convergence-continuum Photo
Review: WALKING TO BUCHENWALD at Convergence-continuum

What did our critic think of WALKING TO BUCHENWALD at Convergence-continuum? At the start of the opening night of BUCKENWALD, it appeared that no matter the quality of the script the audience was in for a rough night.  Lighting guffaws, a confusing scene with actors speaking directly to the audience, but talking to other actors seemingly miles apart, with no visual means of the messages being conveyed.  Not a healthy beginning.

Cleveland Play House to Present THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, AMADEUS, and More in 108th Seaso Photo
Cleveland Play House to Present THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, AMADEUS, and More in 108th Season

Check out the lineup for Cleveland Play House's 108th Season here!

From This Author - Roy Berko

Roy Berko, a life-long Clevelander, holds degrees, through the doctorate from Kent State, University of Michigan and The Pennsylvania State University. Roy was an actor for many years, appearing in mo... (read more about this author)


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