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Review | ‘Something Rotten!’ clashes with classic Shakespeare

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

By Gracie Vanover

Floyd Central High School, Class of 2020

Now, one may be thinking, “God, I hate Shakespeare” when first hearing of “Something Rotten!” — a musical about The Bottom brothers, who are competing against Shakespeare during the Renaissance. But that won’t be the case after seeing the production.

“Something Rotten!” hit The Kentucky Center on Tuesday and runs through Sunday. The show originally opened on Broadway in 2015 and started its current tour last year. The show is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, who has also worked with Broadway hits like “The Prom,” “Mean Girls,” “The Book of Mormon” and many more.

Set in the 1590s, the Bottom brothers, Nick (Matthew Janisse) and Nigel (Richard Spitaletta) are scurrying for ideas when one appears out of thin air: musicals!

In this production, the character of Shakespeare (Matthew Barker) certainly was an eye-catcher — and not just because of his silver leather outfit. Barker gave this role pizzazz and cockiness like Broadway star Christian Borle (who won a Tony award for his role as Shakespeare in “Something Rotten!” on Broadway and another for his performance of Black Stache in “Peter and the Starcatcher”).

One small ear-catching performance was the clarinet solo played by Michael Witsberger before Nigel begins “To Thine Own Self” (Reprise). The slurring and grace he provided when playing made the quaint little solo smooth and clear as crystal. It was a nice little orchestral moment that stood out from others.

If “The Book of Mormon” or other slightly inappropriate shows is one’s preference, then this show fits. With funny and dirty humor, every one of all ages will be snickering at these innuendos and quick cracks. So be fast to catch the shenanigans of the Bottom brothers.



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