“Something Rotten!” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – May 7, 2022

COMICALLY DELIGHTFUL “SOMETHING ROTTEN!” DAZZLES IN SUPERB TPTC STAGING

“SOMETHING ROTTEN!”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Mainstage Theatre
Phoenix AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

In the hilarious musical “Something Rotten!,” comic energy explodes all over The Phoenix Theatre Company stage bringing a richly entertaining and thoroughly amusing show to vibrant and throbbing life.  The show, set during Shakespeare’s time, slams musical theater foibles and the inane plots of too many musicals.

The show succeeds for two main reasons.  One reason is a superb cast of limber farceurs who sing and dance with aplomb while making anything remotely funny in the mockish show truly hilarious.  The other reason is director/musical stager Kathy Fitzgerald who masterminds the show’s spirited high jinks while instilling the entire production with a deft comedic sense.

The over-the-top lampooning that this show is based on works best if played with high frivolity and that’s exactly what Fitzgerald’s wildly comic production achieves.  A very fey William Shakespeare, played with comic delight by Toby Yatso, presents much fun while Matravius Avent and Jonathan Shew play the Bottom brothers with zeal as playwrights who can’t compete with Shakespeare.  With the help of a wacky soothsayer, they discover the musical where songs intensify plot and character while providing opportunities for fiery dance routines. But for all its mirth, “Something Rotten” is a true love letter to the fun and abandon of spirited musicals.

Fitzgerald, long absent from Phoenix stages after a triumphant Broadway career in such shows as “The Producers” and “Wicked,” reminds local theatergoers what we lost when she headed to Broadway.  Not only does she stage “Something Rotten” with shimmering brilliance but she plays the show’s soothsayer, Nostradamus, with undaunting hilarity.  Fitzgerald and company stopped the show’s first act cold in “A Musical,” a huge production number explaining what and how these new musicals will work.

But it is not just Fitzgerald who throws multiple comic zingers and high stepping dances the audience’s way.  Avent and Shew play the Bottom brothers with mayhem that comically delights and charms.  Yatso’s limp-wristed Shakespeare is a hoot and D. Scott Withers has a field day playing the hypocritical and just slightly gay Brother Jeremiah.  Singling these stalwart players out doesn’t give justice to the wonderful singing and dancing ensemble who portray a host of small roles with witty delight.  It is the wonderful chorus who jumps and twirls excitedly to create the many delightfully entertaining production numbers, cleverly choreographed by Eric Sciotto, that dot the show.

“Something Rotten!” displays infectious frivolity and cunning malarkey through every minute of this riotous entertainment.  “Something Rotten!” runs through June 19.  To order tickets, call The Phoenix Theatre Company box office at 602-254-2151 or order tickets online at www.phoenixtheatre.com.

Grade: A

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