JULY 2022 | Volume 217
Book by John O'Farrell & Karey Kirkpatrick
Music & lyrics by Karey & Wayne Kirkpatrick
Theatre Under the Stars
Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park
July 2-Aug 26
www.tuts.ca or 1-800-514-3849
If you liked The Producers, you’ll love Something Rotten! Brothers Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick have given Shakespeare the full Mel Brooks musical treatment, and the results range from silly to inspired and hilarious. After a two-year COVID-enforced hiatus, Theatre Under the Stars is back with a talented cast in a rip-roaring, crowd-pleasing production.
We’re in London in 1595 (“Welcome to the Renaissance!”), where brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom (lively Kamyar Pazandeh and endearing Vicente Sandoval) are struggling to write and produce plays in a theatrical environment dominated by obnoxiously charismatic Shakespeare (fantastic Daniel Curalli). When Nick sings, “God, I hate Shakespeare,” someonesings back, “Don’t be a penis, The man is a genius.”
Nick needs a hit so he can support his pregnant wife Bea (Katie-Rose Connors), who wants to get a job. Women don’t work, he insists. Hey, she replies, “It’s the ‘90s. By 1600, women will be completely equal.”
Desperate, Nick goes to soothsayer Nostradamus (show-stopper Jyla Robinson), who tells him the future of theatre is in musicals. In the marvellous number “A Musical,” Nostradamus explains how a character is talking, then for no particular reason breaks into song. At other times everything stops while everyone dances.
Their first attempt is a musical about the Black Death, with a chorus of grim reapers. When it’s clear that won’t fly, Nostradamus looks into the future to see what Shakespeare’s most famous play will be so Nick can steal the idea. His vision somewhat clouded, Nostradamus comes up with “Omelet.” The second act will feature a performance of “Omelet, the Musical,” complete with dancing eggs.
Meanwhile, the Puritans, led by Brother Jeremiah (Matt Ramer), are attempting to shut them down. But Jeremiah’s daughter Portia (Cassandra Consiglio) and Nigel fall in love. Both actors have sweet voices and their romance provides a nice detour from the nuttiness.
Although the action flags significantly in Act Two, director Rachel Peake gets excellent performances from the whole large cast. TUTS shows are notable for their dancing, and choreographer Nicol Spinola delivers the goods here, including a couple of hot tap segments. Costumer Stephanie Kong provides plenty of colourand Shizuka Kai’s unfussy set is just Tudor enough.
Knowing nothing about this show before, I found it a very pleasant surprise. I laughed a lot (listen for the line about indoor plumbing) and thanked the gods of Stanley Park for bringing Theatre Under the Stars back to us.
get in touch with vancouverplays:
Vancouver's arts and culture website providing theatre news, previews and reviews