Loren and I went in to the theatre with a slight bad taste in our mouth. This was the theatre that shoved one of our favorite shows, Side Show, out on its behind and replaced it with this seemingly silly little musical, Something Rotten! And I must admit, I do sort of love the silliness that I feel when I am asked, “What are you seeing tonight?” and I reply, “Something Rotten!” Still makes me giggle, stupidly.
And that sort of sums up my feelings about this show.
The first number, “Welcome to the Renaissance” is the weakest number of the show, I thought. Maybe I wasn’t open to it yet. Maybe I needed more time, but eventually I was over taken by the silly humor, the juvenile jokes, and the bad, and possibly a bit over the top, gay jokes. It takes a fair amount to offend me, and I wasn’t offended, but I did notice the number of laughs gotten on the gay swish factor joke. Alas, we are not talking high art here, we are talking about a very silly little show that delighted me from second number to the end.
(Check out the video below.)
When we arrived at the Soothsayer, a very funny Brad Oscar, the show really took off for me. The numbers, “A Musical” “Something Rotten!” and “Make an Omelette,” had me rolling with laughter with all the clever inclusions of musical references. It was difficult to keep up! Finally some smart mixed up with silly. And that really worked for me. Plus, Christian Borle as Shakespeare and the two Bottom brothers, Nick (Brian d’Arcy James) and Nigel (the incredibly sweet John Cariani) really were quite funny and dripping with talent. Christian might get the Tony for this, it’s like a lead role disguised as a supporting—or should I say, featured—role. Oh, and I almost forgot about the women, which is not surprising in this male-centric show. Both women in this show play quite the secondary supportive roles but are both delightful. I just wish we got a bit more of Heidi Blickenstaff as it appears she is quite the force, but she is relegated to the background even as she sings about being her husband’s equal. Kate Reinders was so enduring and hilarious in her slightly more pivotal role. I loved them both, even if the show didn’t give them the love they deserve.
The show is a riot. And I left smiling from ear to ear, and also, with a slight crush on Christian Borle. Who would have guessed that? I guess, from Loren’s comments, I was not the only one.
Now will it win best new musical, I would not be disgruntled if it did, but it doesn’t carry the weight of Fun Home, but it sure is a silly fun ode to the Renaissance, the modern musical, and to Shakespeare and Company.