Something Rotten opened last Wednesday on Broadway, starring Christian Borle and Brian d’Arcy James, I saw it in preview the week before.
Something Rotten is set in the 1590’s, brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to outshine the rock star that is ‘The Bard’. They go to a local soothsayer to find out what will be the next big thing, he predicts the ‘Musical’…! A play told through song ‘what?!’, who could imagine such a thing…!
What unfolds is both hilarious and exhausting. They must certainly be the most hard-working cast around as every number is huge and includes most of the cast. There was a frisson of excitement in the auditorium and mid-way through the first half the audience gave a standing ovation.
The lyrics are fast, plentiful, clever and funny. During the number ‘God, I Hate Shakespeare’, the line ‘don’t be a penis, he’s a genius’ definitely stuck in my head. The melodies are catchy and we were singing ‘Welcome to the Renaissance’ for days after. However, the jokes and humour felt so labored and obvious – maybe it’s my British humour I’m not sure but I did laugh at a joke the first and second time around but not the fifth and sixth. Saying that, the audiences were rolling in their seats at every pun.
Something Rotten is great idea for a show, it has some memorable songs, the cast is genuinely incredible – but for me the gags were a bit arduous. Hey, but what do I know, go see for yourself (if you can get a ticket!).