Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! at Court Theatre

What did our critic think?

By: Nov. 27, 2023
Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! at Court Theatre

Reviewed by Neil Brewer

Something Rotten!

The Court Theatre

Director Benjamin Kilby-Henson. 
Musical Director Richard Marrett. 
Choreographer Kira Josephson

Something Rotten! premiered on Broadway in 2015 and was nominated for ten Tony Awards. It is the story of the Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel, who strive for success in the theatrical world as they compete with their incredibly popular competitor, one William Shakespeare. Desperate to out-Bard the Bard, Nick consults a soothsayer and learns that the next big thing in theatre will be a MUSICAL—a play where "an actor is saying his lines, and out of nowhere he just starts singing."

The Bottom brothers set out to write the world’s very first musical, while caught in a bitter battle with Shakespeare (or should we call him Snakespeare?), with hilarious results.

This is the Australasian premiere of Something Rotten! and premiered with a deserved full house.

This production is incredibly slick. From the opening number through to its conclusion, you will be entertained to the max.

The script is first-rate and will appeal to most theatregoers, though those with a knowledge of musical theatre will love it most, as it includes multiple references to other well-known musicals. The Court theatre even paid a special homage to two of their previous productions, “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Rent ” as a part of this show.

The set was absolutely wonderful, with a black and white graphic novel quality throughout, designed by Dan Williams. It shone in its own way but did not detract from the huge array of costumes on display. There were a stunning 400 costume pieces in this production! An incredible amount of work by Tina Hutchison-Thomas and her costume team. The props team also had their work cut out for them. I truly hope this show moves around the country so the work that’s gone into the creation of the set, costumes and props get a chance to be seen elsewhere. 

This is a very dance-intensive show, including multiple tap numbers that dazzle and the choreographer Kira Josephson has produced outstanding quality work from her cast and the music team lead by Richard Marrett didn’t put a foot wrong throughout the evening.

In fact, the entire cast, from the leads to the ensemble, are of the highest standard and it’s not fair to single any one of them out. They sang, danced and acted so well, you could easily have been sitting in a Broadway theatre rather than the Christchurch temporary home for the Court.

There were a couple of small issues on opening night with small costume incidents and also some minor sound hiccups but nothing that detracted from this thoroughly enjoyable production.

We traveled from Wellington specifically to see it and it was money well spent. In fact, as I am traveling to Christchurch later this month, I have already purchased tickets to see it again.  This production earns my highest possible recommendation.  Superb. Bravo. Go

Tickets are available here