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Review | A musical that takes risks with vulgarity is ‘Something Rotten!’

The national tour of the musical "Something Rotten!" Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

By Audrey Boyd

Floyd Central High School, Class of 2021

If you enjoy a never-ending supply of sexual innuendos and double entendres, or perhaps even the two intertwined, then this is the show for you. It’s as if Bo Burnham was thrown into the Renaissance, but instead of rapping, there are tap routines.

“Something Rotten!” opened Tuesday and runs through Sunday at The Kentucky Center.

The musical follows a tale of two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom (Matthew Michael Janiesse and Richard Spitaletta), who are struggling to write the next big play at a point of history when Shakespeare overshadows all else. It takes a new approach to The Bard, played by Matthew Baker, painting him in the light of an arrogant rock star rather than the stingy poet the general population sees him to be. His frilly neckpiece is replaced with skin-tight leather, and his famous sonnets are backed up by electric guitars.

The entire production is not what you would expect. Mature sophistication seems to never have been heard of in this universe; instead, you’re met with mature in the more vulgar sense (so perhaps don’t bring your “Macbeth”-loving grandmother). But somehow, it works. It’s incredibly self-aware and uses this to the show’s comedic advantage.

Arguably, the best running joke throughout is found in one of the most stoic characters: Brother Jeremiah (Mark Saunders). He provided a nonstop stream of sexual innuendos.

This show takes risks in its story above all else, and the end product makes you glad they did. I wholeheartedly believe that, if the Bottom brothers could see this hit of a musical, you know they would be proud.



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