BWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! Bedazzles at the Fox Cities P.A.C.

BWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! Bedazzles at the Fox Cities P.A.C.

SOMETHING ROTTEN! opened at Appleton's Fox Cities Performing Arts Center on October 23 and will continue to play through October 28. SOMETHING ROTTEN! offers laughs, entertaining dance numbers, and enough musical theater references to delight any fan.

The play's the thing in SOMETHING ROTTEN! Brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom desperately want to craft the next big play to top rock star playwright Shakespeare's popular works. Competing with The Bard isn't easy, so Nick surreptitiously consults a soothsayer for help. The soothsayer advises him that musicals are the next big thing, so Nick commits to creating the world's first musical. But while many of the soothsayer's predictions are spot on, others are misinterpreted to hilarious effect.

Musical theater jokes have become fairly ubiquitous in humorous shows, but somehow the self-referential humor never seems to get old. And SOMETHING ROTTEN! takes the standard musical theater jokes to the next level. The show takes aim at both the genre itself, standard musical theater conventions, and countless popular musicals. At times, the references are so rapid-fire that it is difficult to digest them all.

The book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell is a lighthearted treat. At times, SOMETHING ROTTEN! feels like a brilliant cross between THE PRODUCERS and SPAMALOT.

The music and lyrics by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick are fun and upbeat. Audiences will recognize common musical themes woven throughout, adding an additional layer of fun.

Perhaps one of the most unique features of SOMETHING ROTTEN! is how well the costuming (by Gregg Barnes) and choreography (by director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw) work together to hilarious effect. The choreography varies in style, incorporating Fosse-esque elements, tap, and more contemporary moves. However, the vibrant Renaissance costumes somehow amplify all the choreography, putting a new spin on even recognizable dance moves.

The cast of SOMETHING ROTTEN! does an excellent job bringing Elizabethan England to life (albeit a funnier, better smelling version of the era). Apart from a strong ensemble, SOMETHING ROTTEN! also has a talented cast of lead players.

Matthew Baker is delightfully nefarious as Shakespeare. His charismatic villainy makes it impossible not to root for him at least a little.

Matthew Michael Janisse is hilariously curmudgeonly as Nick Bottom. His character displays the most growth in the show, which Janisse navigates seamlessly.

Richard Spitaletta plays Nigel Bottom with a wide-eyed innocence that makes Nigel one of the most likable characters in the show. Additionally, when Spitaletta and Jennifer Elizabeth Smith (as Portia) perform together, their brilliant harmonies are paired with undeniable adorability.

Emily Kristen Morris has terrific timing as Bea. Her energy brings the role to life.

Greg Kalafatas is over-the-top hilarious as Nostradamus. With some of the funniest lines in the show, a lot of the laughs fall on his very capable shoulders, and he doesn't let audiences down.

SOMETHING ROTTEN! may be aimed at musical theater fans, but anyone can enjoy this hilarious, lively show. If you like a good time, you won't bite your thumb at SOMETHING ROTTEN!

SOMETHING ROTTEN! runs at the Fox Cities P.A.C. from October 23-28. Tickets are still available.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

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From This Author Meredith Kreisa

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