Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! at Pioneer Theatre Company is Joyful

SOMETHING ROTTEN! plays now through March 12, 2022.

By: Feb. 26, 2022
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Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! at Pioneer Theatre Company is Joyful

SOMETHING ROTTEN! has finally made its debut at Pioneer Theatre Company after two pandemic-induced postponements since the spring of 2020, and it brings with it pent-up energy, joy, laughter, and love of the theatre.

SOMETHING ROTTEN! (book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell, music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick) is a full-tilt comedy that wears its heart on its sleeve but is filled to the brim with witty theatre references. In 1590s England, brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are struggling to write a play that is as beloved as the work of their rival, William Shakespeare. When Nostradamus foresees the popularity of musicals in the future, Nick becomes convinced that he and his brother must write a musical to ensure their success.

Fittingly, the cast is filled with outstanding musical theatre performers, with excellent singing and dancing, wonderfully directed and choreographed by artistic director Karen Azenberg. Daniel Plimpton as Nigel and Matt Farcher as Nick bring both playwright panache and brotherly vulnerability to their parts, along with a healthy dose of humor. Matthew Hydzik is a true talent, and what a joy to welcome him back to the Pioneer Theatre stage after his electrifying performance in CHESS. His self-indulgent Shakespeare is just right. As is Robert Anthony Jones' Nostradamus. He's a real hoot, bringing the perfect amount of "ham" to the breakfast table.

Additional memorable characters include T.J. Newton as the Minstrel, Galyana Castillo as Bea, Lexi Rabadi as Portia, Kevin B. McGlynn as Brother Jeremiah, and Howard Kaye as Shylock. The set by George Maxwell and costumes by Patrick Holt are handsomely designed and crafted with pleasing textures, materials, and colors. They are heightened for comedy's sake but still pay homage to the time period and are spectacle worthy of the best Shakespearean dramas and Broadway musicals. The lighting by Michael Gilliam and hair/makeup by Samantha Wootten are complementary to the set and costumes, and equally worthy.

The only small quibble is that the sound at the reviewed performance was occasionally too low to comfortably hear all the dialogue without strain. With face mics in use, it should be an easy fix to bump up the volume.

SOMETHING ROTTEN! plays through March 12, 2022. For tickets, call the box office at 801-581-6961 or visit

Photo Credit: Matthew Hydzik (Shakespeare) and cast of SOMETHING ROTTEN! Courtesy of Pioneer Theatre Company.


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