A poster for Something Rotten, the goofy musical now romping at The Orpheum, has an “o” looking like a splattered tomato. Suggesting that audiences might hurl their disdain at the performers taking the stage in Shakespeare’s venerated wooden o. No such fragrant fruit flew through the air Tuesday evening as the audience did stomp and roar while a troupe of strolling players did their damndest to entertain.
Yea, they did so, full of dynamic energy and fun, with tap dancing worth the price of admission. There’s even a tap rap number. Plus a gaggle of attractive songs by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick in a jolly, cute script by Karey with John O’Farrell.
Verily. Shakespeare doth appear as do other brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom. They are well down in the barrel during The Bard’s glory days. They try to compete and finally come up with something they believe will turn the tables, egged on by the idea of creating a musical called “Omelette.” Oddly though, Sir Francis Bacon never appears.
You need not know more of what transpires. The anachronism-loaded comedy goes its way, unimpeded by intimations of real Elizabethan life. It comes peppered with Shakespeare quotes, merry gags and broad business, plus songs and dances sometimes full of references to many palpable hits of recent yore. But who keeps score of the scores?
The sets and costumes by Scott Pask and Gregg Barnes never cease to amaze and delight. Amid the swirling cast, Maggie Lakes takes the cake as Nick’s wife Bea, with a wonderful singing voice and amazing and comic role versatility as Bea trying to make her mark in a man’s world by cross-dressing. Bea’s brother-in law Nigel is played with sweet charm by Josh Grisetti. And Scott Cote’s take on Brother Jeremiah, resembling a Puritan churchman, pulls out all the stops on the organ.
Two Nebraskans have roles, Bellevue’s Daniel Beeman, a grad of Bellevue West High School and Con O’Shea-Creal, a grad of Pius X High School in Lincoln. Plus the three leads in this show had the same roles on Broadway.
John O’Farrell is a British author and comedy scriptwriter and a major script contributor for such TV shows as Spitting Image, and Have I Got News for You. He also co-wrote Aardman films’ Chicken Run . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_O%27Farrell_(author)
Karey Kirkpatrick is an American screenwriter and director for such movies as James and the Giant Peach, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Charlotte’s Web, and an adaptation of The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. long with contributions to Smurfs films. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karey_Kirkpatrick
His brother Wayne, a Grammy Award winner, has come up with songs in Contemporary Christian, Country, and Pop styles and had them recorded by Garth Brooks, Joe Cocker, Wyonna Judd, Bonnie Raitt, and Eric Clapton. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Kirkpatrick.
Methinks It doth well amuse
Something Rotten! runs through May 21, Slosburg Hall, Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Fri.: 8 p.m. Sat.: 2 & 8 p.m. Sun.: 1:30 & 7 p.m. Tickets $35-$120. https://www.omahaperformingarts.org/