Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell
Music and Lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
Bass Hall, Fort Worth
Director and Choreographer – Casey Nicholaw
Scenic Designer – Scott Pask
Costume Designer – Gregg Barnes
Lighting Designer – Jeff Croiter
Sound Designer – Peter Hylenski
Production Stage Manager – Jeff Norman
Music Director – Brian P. Kennedy
CAST (of reviewed performance)
Minstrel – Nick Rashad Burroughs
Brother Jeremiah – Scott Cote
Portia – Autumn Hurlbert
Shakespeare – Adam Pascal
Nick Bottom – Rob McClure
Nigel Bottom – Josh Grisetti
Francis Flute – Patrick John Moran
Peter Quince – Con O’Shea-Creal
Tom Snout – Kyle Nicholas Anderson
Yorick – Daniel Beeman
Robin – David Rossetti
Snug – Nick Rashad Burroughs
Lord Clapham – Joel Newsome
Shylock – Jeff Brooks
Bea – Maggie Lakis
Eyepatch Man – Joel Newsome
Nostradamus – Blake Hammond
Shakespeare’s Valet – Daniel Beeman
Will Power Backup Boys – Daniel Beeman, Drew Franklin, Ralph Meitzler, Con O’Shea-Creal
Chef Trio – Kyle Nicholas Anderson, Nick Rashad Burroughs, Con O’Shea-Creal
Master of the Justice – Patrick John Moran
Ensemble – Lucy Anders, Kyle Nichols Anderson, Daniel Beeman, Mandie Black, Nick Rashad Burroughs, Drew Franklin, Ralph Meitzler, Patrick John Moran, Joel Newsome, Con O’Shea-Creal, David Rossetti, Kaylin Seckel, Sarah Quinn Taylor, Tonya Thompson, Emily Trumble, Luke Hamilton
Reviewed Performance: 1/17/2018
Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
“Welcome to the Renaissance” it’s “A Musical!” SOMETHING ROTTEN brings its tour for ONE WEEKEND ONLY to Bass Performance Hall in Ft. Worth. The new musical opened in April of 2015, was nominated for 9 Tony Awards and nabbed Christian Borle his second Best Performance for a Featured Actor award. It’s a hilarious fictional tale of the creation of the first stage musical by contemporaries of William Shakespeare, Nick and Nigel Bottom.
The creative team came to SOMETHING ROTTEN! with quite a pedigree. Casey Nicholaw, director of the production, is well known for his choreography on the original productions of Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Book of Mormon, and Disney’s Aladdin. He also directed The Drowsy Chaperone, Disney’s Aladdin, and co-Directed The Book of Mormon. The quality shows with Nicholaw’s attention to detail as the stage is often filled with movement and panache of style. Many minor scenes have extra actors doing business outside the focus of the scene but add balance and an additional dimension to the stage composition.
Scott Pask is known for his work on the original productions of Urinetown and The Pillowman, the 2013 revival of Pippin, The Coast of Utopia, the 2008 revival of Pal Joey, and also worked with Nicholaw on The Book of Mormon. His massive scenic design is not only impressive for its size but functionality as pieces seamlessly flow across the stage while scenes continue. Allowing for the uninterrupted flow of the show is expert level craftsmanship.
Gregg Barnes’ anachronistic costume designs mix modern glitz and glamour with Elizabethan fashion seamlessly, with women’s dresses that tear down to showgirl skirts and bardic tight pleather pants and cod pieces. Barnes and Nicholaw also partnered on The Drowsy Chaperone and Disney’s Aladdin while Barnes is also known for his work on Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde (the musical), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (the musical).
Rob McClure plays Nick Bottom, the playwright/director who jealously hates William Shakespeare and desires the attention Shakespeare receives. McClure’s performance, like everyone in the production, is fantastic. McClure mixes Bottom’s obsessive disdain for Shakespeare with a relatable loving for his family, so he deftly avoids becoming the villain of the show.
Maggie Lakis plays Nick’s wife, Bea Bottom alongside her real life husband Rob McClure. “Right Hand Man” shows her excellent vocal range, while Bea as a whole is a test of comic timing that Lakis navigates beautifully.
Nostradamus is a role that can make or break SOMETHING ROTTEN! as a zany central figure to the plot. Originated by Brad Oscar, Blake Hammond is incredible with quick, seemingly random, character attitude changes that leave the audience in stitches. His brilliant performance in “A Musical” draws in the audience and elicits a monumental applause break afterwards.
Although his speaking voice performance is reminiscent of Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter, Adam Pascal comfortably slides into the role of the rock star bard, William Shakespeare. His pre-Broadway experience as a rock musician shows in his performance of “Will Power,” while Pascal’s acting chops are on display for “It’s Hard to Be the Bard” and his surreptitious undercover time as “Toby Belch.”
The awkward young lovers, Nigel Bottom and Portia, played by Josh Grisetti and Autumn Hurlbert, thankfully give the show a small portion of substance. Both are adorable in the innocent way they play their roles, while demonstrating superb singing voices.
Wonderfully and slightly foppish, Puritan, Brother Jeremiah, whose Freudian slips disclose a secret of his character is played by Scott Cote. The closest thing SOMETHING ROTTEN! contains to a villain, Cote’s performance is delightful while eluding becoming a broad parody.
With the amazing technical aspects, performances, and flawless execution of both, the only weak point for the show is the writing. Yes, it’s uproariously funny and keeps the audience laughing for the full two-and-a-half hour run time but that’s the only emotional response it elicits. For someone who desires a rawer, human connection, the show is a little, as [TITLE OF SHOW] describes, “donuts for dinner.” For the writing team of Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, this was their first foray into musical theatre, Kirkpatrick being best known for the 2006 films Charlotte’s Web and Over the Hedge, 2005’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film, and the 2008 film The Spiderwick Chronicles, O’Farrell, a British author best known for the BBC shows Spitting Image and Have I Got News For You. It may be the only explanation that can be given for putting their biggest, show-stopping number, in the middle of the first act.
SOMETHING ROTTEN has everything a theatre audience is looking for in a night of side-splitting entertainment; a sweet, innocent love story, recognizable parodies of familiar characters, witty humor, and catchy music. It only runs one weekend but it is highly recommended everybody see it.
Bass Performance Hall
525 Commerce St
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Runs through January 21, 2018
Thursday, Saturday and Sunday matinee at 1:30pm
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening at 7:30pm
Sunday evening at 6:30pm
Thursday matinee ticket prices are $44 to $99
Thursday evening ticket prices are $55 to $115
Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday matinee ticket prices are $66 to $115
Saturday evening ticket prices are $88 to $115
Sunday evening ticket prices are $55 to $99
Special rates area available for groups of 10 or more.
For tickets and information, go to https://www.basshall.com/ or call their box office at 817-212-4280. Office Hours: Monday through Friday 10am to 6pm. Saturday 10am to 4pm.