Review: Something Rotten

If you want a light-hearted, hilarious, rollicking show, then Something Rotten is the one for you. I was lucky enough to win the lottery for Something Rotten and got to see it with my friend Emma, who was visiting New York from Scotland. We had an amazing time and were singing “Welcome to the Renaissance” for days afterward.

The musical centers around the Bottom brothers, playwrights who are rivals of William Shakespeare (Christian Borle). Nick Bottom (played by Rob McClure who recently took over the role from Brian d’Arcy James) hates Shakespeare with a passion (and with an amazing song). Meanwhile, the younger brother Nigel Bottom (John Cariani) secretly loves Shakespeare and wants to be like him. With the help of a prophet, Nick comes up with the idea to stage the world’s first musical...and chaos ensues, of course.

The cast brings a lot of charm to this show. John Cariani is adorable as Nigel Bottom (and I can’t stop trying to imitate his vocal inflection). Rob McClure was convincing as the frustrated older brother who is trying to provide for his family. Heidi Blickenstaff shines as Bea, Nick’s wife, who decides to take providing for the family into her own hands. I especially loved Kate Reinders as the Puritan Portia, who secretly loves poetry. She reminded me a bit of a young Kristin Chenoweth!

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about Something Rotten without discussing Christian Borle as William Shakespeare. I’ve been a fan of Borle’s since his Legally Blonde days and believe me, this role seems made for him. He’s hilarious as the pompous and vain Shakespeare.

The one main downside of this show is that if you don’t have some knowledge of musicals, then a lot of the jokes won’t make sense. I’m so glad that I took the time to see Something Rotten, even if it’s not the type of show that I want to return to again and again (like She Loves Me or Les Miserables). I’m not typically one for feel-good, happy, upbeat shows but this one proved me wrong. I would highly recommend seeing it if you’re in New York!
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