BWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN at Kentucky Center For The Arts
Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell
Music and Lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
Directed by Casey Nicholaw
Review by Taylor Clemons
Entire contents copyright © 2019 Taylor Clemons. All rights reserved.
In England circa 1595, a lot of interesting things are happening. Artists are emerging, inventors are revolutionizing everyday life, and writers are prospering. Writers like a little known wordsmith by the name of Willam Shakespeare. In Something Rotten, we focus on Nick and Nigel Bottom, who are just unlucky enough to exist in Shakespeare's shadow, ever wondering how to find that kind of success. Through a vast array of circumstances, the Bottom Brothers set out to write the world's very first musical.
Something Rotten first premiered on Broadway in 2015 where it was nominated for 10 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) walking home with a single award for Christian Borle's performance as Shakespeare. The show was skating on thin ice after canceling their pre-Broadway tryout in favor of coming in cold. However the show was an audience favorite and ran almost two years on good buzz and word of mouth. After the show's broadway run concluded a national tour went around the country for two seasons. Currently a new non-equity version of that same tour has opened up shop for a week at Louisville's Kentucky Center for the Arts.
The cast is lead by Matthew Michael Janisse and Richard Spitaletta as the Bottom Brothers and Matthew Baker as William Shakespeare. Janisse is very good as the eldest Bottom Brother, Nick. He's got a great voice and wonderful comedy chops. Spitaletta as Nigel plays up the sweet and sincere aspects of the role as opposed to his neurotic side, which in turn creates wonderful chemistry with Jennifer Elizabeth Smith as Portia. Baler as Shakespeare is sharp and sexy playing up the character's ego to audience delight. Not to mention his vocal skills are very impressive belting out rock anthems. Smith as Portia is downright hilarious. She finds so much added comedy, and was a pleasure to watch. Emily Kristen Morris as Bea Bottom (Nick's wife) is phenomenal. I found myself wishing she had more stage time given how much fun that role is, however, she gets a few great moments to shine including a wonderful song called "Right Hand Man".
The script while funny, tends to focus on more low brow humor, which isn't a bad thing, however it might not be everyone's cup of tea, as poop and penis jokes are only funny for so long. The score on the other hand is very well written. The songs are catchy, and have some very good lyrics. The show accomplishes the brassy "old time" musical comedy vibe very well evoking Mel Brooks/The Producers type humor, but not quite as smartly crafted as that of Brooks.
All and all, the show is a great night out at the theatre. It's very entertaining, and winning performances with a great score save it from many of the cliche pot holes it would've been bound to fall into.
Now - January 20, 2019
Whitney Hall in The Kentucky Center for the Arts
501 W. Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202