Theatre L’Homme Dieu’s production of Something Rotten was anything but rotten! -Mike Ryan
It would be (over) easy to say that this brilliant muuuusical cracked me up, but it was honestly the funniest musical I have seen in the last 400 years! It was fun, vibrant celebration of the stage. I was impressed from the start with the colorful costumes, energetic dance and ensemble cast performance. Remarkable that you easily forget that these are high school students, that recently performed this at Minnetonka Theater.
The plot revolves around the London Renaissance, where William Shakespeare really is at the top of his game, producing hit after hit to the chagrin of the head of his former theater troupe director Nick Bottom. Bottom sees Shakespeare as a hack, with less talent them himself and his writer brother, Nigel. In sheer frustration, Nick visits a soothsayer to see into the future and learn what the biggest thing in theater will be. It turns out to be the strange concept of singing and dancing during a play! Although it is the “Stupidest thing that (Nick)has ever heard,” he decides to put on the first musical ever. This is to everyone else’s utter confusion, including his long-suffering wife, theater company, the heavily-pressured Shakespeare, and all of London. The show unfolds on stage in an uproarious musical and Shakespearean fun, as Nick’s life unravels in his own frustrations. The witty script is fast-paced, full of humor and historical references (and innuendo) that get the audience laughing right away.
Some standout performances of the cast would be the Bottom brothers themselves, Nick Bottom, played by Nate Trcotte, and Nigel Bottom, played by Joe Harris. They played well off of each other with that brotherly camaraderie the role required and just enough sibling frustration to be realistic. Nick’s long-suffering wife, Bea, is played by Reagan Aleman, whose comedic prowess and impressive pipes were an audience-pleaser. Nostradamus (not THAT Nostradamus) was played by Truman Klein, who comedically kept in his role and one you kept your eyes on when on stage. And Max Perdu’s passionate monologue about his character Shylock’s love of the theater was my favorite part of the play.
Shylock’s love for theater is humorous, genuine, and contagious, as he spoke the lines, “But what I really love — is the theater. … I love the sights, the smells, the roar of the crowd, the splat of the fruit as it hits the actors. It’s a temple to me, I tell you. A temple! Catholic, Protestant, Jew — I don’t give a rats tuchus. My religion — is theater.”
Jason Elyea-Wheeler as William Shakespeare had both a “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Elvis” feel combined and was a solid performance. The entire ensemble deserved the standing ovation even before the last song was over!
The influences of this musical are clear: “The Producers,” “Spamalot” and “The Book of Mormon.” Yep, this is a blockbuster and a summer must-see at Theatre L’Homme Dieu.
Call box office 320-846-3150