MUST SEEREVIEWSTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

Something Rotten! 2017 National Tour

A  Chicago Premiere.

Book by Karey Kirkpatrick & John O’Farrell.

Music & Lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick & Karey Kirkpatrick.

Directed & Csaey Nicholaw.

Produced by Broadway in Chicago.

At the Oriental Theatre, Chicago.

Side-slitting laughter and splashing staging fuel fabulous original Broadway musical.

Right from the opening number, “Welcome to the Renaissance,” we realize that Something Rotten is really something wonderful.  Set in the 1590s, brothers Nick ( Rob McClure) and Nigel Bottom (Josh Grisettu) are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rock star known as “The Bard” (Adam Pascal). When a local soothsayer (Blake Hammond) foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical. But amidst the scandalous excitement of opening night, the Bottom Brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to thine own self, and all that jazz.

This set-up is more than simply a dazzling Broadway musical and a buddy comedy. It is a hilarious spoof on classical theatre, Shakespeare, and is an amazing tribute to the history of Broadway musicals. Smart humor with puns, double-entendres and raw sexual references fuel the adventures of the lovable Bottom brothers played with empathy and truthful bu Rob McClure as Nick Bottom and the funny, sweet Nigel Bottom played with sincerity by Josh Grisetti. These brothers strive to mount a new work – a musical – to survive in the London of Shakespeare.

Filled with glitz, glamour and several giant show-stoppers, director/choreography Casey Nicholaw’s movement and hyper dances make all the wild pastiche come across as wonderful. Humor reigns here. The clever “A Musical” with McClure and Hammond is a stunning and hilatious dance number that pays homege to many of Broadways hits.  It becomes ‘sport’ to identify which shows are referenced.

It becomes ‘sport’ to identify which shows are referenced. I found the followinf musicals references (15) in “A Musical” song: Fascinating Rhythm, The Music Man, Seussical, South Pacific, Chicago, Rent, Putting It Together, Annie, Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, Sweet Charity, Hello Dolly, Cats and Sweenry Todd.  Musical lovers rejoice! Newbies get exposure to the variey of showtunes in’A Musical” which is an instant classical showtune.

The story also focuses on Shakespeare or ‘The Bard.” Adam Pascal plays him a rock star with a couple of rock anthem tunes nicely sprinkled with Shakespeare references and quotes for the cannon.

Something Rotten is a fun, funny, fascinating comedy and major Broadway musical rolled-into a period-piece buddy comedy. It is most entertaining filled with belly laughs, clever word play, terrific dancing and several heartfelt honest performances. Rob McClure and Josh Grisetti are tereffic as the Bottom brothers.Blake Hammond, Adam Pascall, Jeff Brooks give major sporrting performances. The ensemble never stops moving; the sets (Scott Pask) and lighting (Jeff Crotter); and customes (Gregg Barnes) each co-tributed to the creativity that makes Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatricls music and lyrics work to produce a major  lush show.

Something Rotten is an unknow gem of a freshing musical comedy that delivers sheer joy as it celebrated old fashin comedy with tuneful, toe-tapping music nicely sung. Don’t miss this fabulous show – you only have until July 23 to capture the magic.

Highly Recommended.

Tom Williams.

At the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL, call 800-775-2000,, tickets $27 – $108, Thursdays 7:30 p.m.,Fridays 7:30 p.m., Saturdays 2 and 8 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. and 7 :30 p.m. ( on 7/23 no evening performance), Tuesdays 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission, through July 23, 2017.