Entertainment » Theatre

Something Rotten!

by Eva  Neil
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Oct 1, 2018
A scene from "Something Rotten!" that runs through October 7 at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit.
A scene from "Something Rotten!" that runs through October 7 at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit.  

Welcome to the Renaissance! If you're into cod pieces, rock star Shakespeare, and a dizzyingly strange song and dance number featuring eggs then get to the Fisher Theatre to see "Something Rotten!" This touring Tony Award-nominated show is currently setting up camp in Detroit through October 7.

"Something Rotten!," set in 1595, centers around the story of two writers and brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom (Matthew Michael Janisse and Richard Spitaletta), who are stuck living in the shadow of the bard of the hour, William Shakespeare. They set out to create something new, different, and interesting and settle on writing the first-ever musical thanks to a soothsayer who foretells their great success.

While Janisse and Spitaletta are great singers and gifted tap dancers, their brotherly relationship comes off as forced. They are more like cousins than anything else. Nick's supportive wife is Bea, played by the jubilant Emily Kristen Morris. Of course I want to love and support all women and their work, but the role of Bea could be edited right out of the script and not much would change. Morris does pop out at entertaining moments as comic relief and ultimately does help free her husband and brother-in-law, but any other character could have been written to do the same thing, play the same role, and we would all end up at the same conclusion.

One actor who does deserve a shout-out though is the hilarious Matthew Baker as the Bard himself, William Shakespeare. It could come off as incredibly corny and unoriginal to idolize Shakespeare, like plenty of people don't already, but he brings an unexpected sexy charm (for Shakespeare) and entertainment to an otherwise tiresome story. His heavy eyeliner, authentic British accent, and tight leather pants don't hurt either. It's easy to see how Broadway heavy-hitter Adam Pascal brought Shakespeare to life in 2016.

Speaking of stage presence we must mention Greg Kalafatas as the outrageous soothsayer Thomas Nostradamus. It's his vision into the future that the next big thing in theater will be musicals. Hilariously, he and Nick discuss that in musicals the actors break into song in the middle of a conversation to help drive the plot forward. The audience lost it during this exchange and rightfully so. I could watch an entire show of just Kalafatas on stage as Nostradamus, laugh until my sides hurt, and leave a satisfied patron.

Did I enjoy "Something Rotten!?" Sure, it's silly and there are nods to many of my favorite musicals. Would I see it again? No. Once was enough and this show does not need a renaissance.

"Something Rotten!" runs through October 7 at the Fisher Theatre, 3011 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, MI. For information or tickets, call 1-800-982-2787 or visit www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at the Fisher Theatre box office.

For more information about the national tour, visit the "Something Rotten!" website.


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