Musical Review: “Something Rotten!” Is Certified Fresh


Abi Wessel

Featuring Teau Tongi and Emmett Smith

Michael Shtrom, Copy Editor

The Pinewood Performing Arts department has done it again. With seemingly endless dedication, the PPA has performed one of the greatest spectacles I have seen in a long time: the Renaissance-era cast of “Something Rotten!,” the PPA’s brand-new musical. 

After a cheerful introduction to the Renaissance, the narrator (sophomore Mia Gustavson) introduces the audience to Nick Bottom (senior Emmett Smith), a playwright and actor who is placed in the unfortunate position of having to compete with William Shakespeare (senior Adam Fallick). In a desperate attempt to turn the tables on Shakespeare, Nick hires soothsayer Nostradamus (senior Nate Martin) to see into the future so Nick can steal the idea for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In a humorous twist, Nostradamus misinterprets the idea as a musical named “Omelette,” which Nick puts on with his acting troupe. Meanwhile, when his brother and playwright Nigel Bottom (Teau Tongi) falls in love with Portia (Kaelyn Smith), he learns to write from his heart rather than writing the tacky, soulless “Omelette,” creating more issues for Nick. 

Featuring Nate Martin (Abi Wessel )

Among stellar performances and unforgettable choreography, the show’s main achievement lies in an unexpected fact: the show managed to feel grand and massive albeit a smaller cast and one of the PPA’s more minimal sets in recent productions. I would attribute this to the infectious enthusiasm of every actor involved, as each and every one clearly contributes a great deal of their energy to the production. As the show neared the middle of the second act, everybody on stage was producing waterfalls of sweat, which proved to me how much energy and effort the actors were putting into their performances. 

While the energy of the actors was noteworthy and incredible, the costumes of the show tended to dampen it at times. Obviously, a show set in the 1590s should dress its character in the appropriate attire, but, having seen the finished production and the rehearsal without costumes, I felt like the engaging movement and choreography were obscured at times by excessive costuming and detail. If the actors had had more time to rehearse in costume, they could have perhaps adjusted their movements to fit their costumes better.

Despite this, the maximalist costumes and minimalist sets provided no setback to the show, which still effectively conveyed its entertaining humor and engaging story to the audience. It is the kind of show that reminds you that there’s truly “nothing more amazing than a musical.”