The one-and-only William Shakespeare has attained God-like stature within the realm of theatre. He is the golden idol of “the Play” and no one in history can compare to his collective …
The one-and-only William Shakespeare has attained God-like stature within the realm of theatre. He is the golden idol of “the Play” and no one in history can compare to his collective works in style and sheer quantity.
However, truth be told, besides his actual manuscripts, we have little to draw upon regarding the actual man. Apart from the well-known Chandos portrait of the famed playwright, we know very little about his beliefs, personal life or even his actual appearance.
“Something Rotten,” now playing at the Forestburgh Playhouse, presents us with a fleshed out version of “The Bard” that you will never forget. This outrageous musical comedy, written by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell with music by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, hit the Broadway stage in 2015 and was nominated for ten Tonys including Best Musical.
Set in the Renaissance England of the 1500s, Shakespeare (Edward Staudenmayer) is at the top of his game while his former and competing theater group director Nick Bottom (Daniel Hayward) can’t come up with a hit to save his life.
Even with the aide of his quieter and lyrically talented brother Nigel (Trevor March), the Bottom Brothers run the risk of losing the financial support of their benefactor Lord Clapham (our own and fellow reviewer Jonathan Charles Fox).
In desperation Nick secretly visits a soothsayer to glance into the future for the theater’s next greatest hit. Soothsayer Nostradamus (not that one, but his nephew played by Matthew Curiano) foresees this strange new phenomenon where actors sing the dialog and even dance to it.
Of course, this is the most ridiculous thing anyone has ever heard of. But alas, the Bottom Brothers will stage the very first musical ever!
The wacky plot continues in a Monty Python-like fashion with a constant slew of double-entendres, raucous puns and lyrical silliness.
The dialog and lyrics are very clever and quite witty with no topic left unscathed. Bigotry, religious persecution and women’s right name only a few. All of this bounds along to an endless stream of parodies of basically every musical you’ve ever known.
Whether in signature dance move, lyric or piece meal costume you will recognize tidbits from West Side Story to A Chorus Line and tons of others.
The cast is collectively amazing, but a few do stand out. You’ll remember Edward Staudenmayer as one of the male suitors in last week’s Momma Mia. His ego inflated Shakespeare goes from genius to plagiarist to playboy to channeling the King from Memphis himself complete with gyrating hips and swooning girls in the audience.
Although I’d say throwing sweat drenched bloomers back into the audience would be more Tom Jones-esque.
Matthew Curiano’s Nostradamus was a visual delight. His tranced looks into the future were hysterical and definitely peaked in his number “A Musical”. (probably my favorite one of the night!)
Nick Bottom’s long suffering wife Bea is played by resident company member Maggie Likcani. It is such bliss to watch a performer from the chorus of other shows step into a feature role and knock it out of the park!
She has a wonderful sense of comic timing that is rivaled only by her peppy pipes.
And then there are the Brothers Bottom. Trevor March as the subdued and more talented Nigel passionately provides the level headed straight man to his off-the-wall brother.
And topping the list, let me say this. Daniel Hayward IS Nick Bottom. He runs away with the part and never comes back. He’s another res company guy from 2018 who demonstrates that he is the real thing. He does it all.
The man just never stops and is tailor made for this role. What a talent!
Forestburgh’s production is anything but rotten. I was equally impressed with the show’s costumes, sets, lighting and of course Director JR Bruno is at the helm and creates a stunning success that will have you laughing until your gut hurts.
“Something Rotten” will run through August 14. Tickets and info are available through the box office at (845) 794-1194 or online at fbplayhouse.org.
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