Phil Willmott

Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN at the St. James Theatre, Broadway

Something Rotten This is a show about two theatre incompetents, one a hard boiled cynic, the other a sweet innocent as they wrestle to compete with Shakespeare’s productions in a Monty Python-like version of Elizabethan England. The piece is a homage to and love song for musical theatre, an art form it relentlessly and lovingly pastiches throughout.

Parts of it are so funny I was crying with laughter. You know the term "show stopper"? Have you ever actually seen a song stop a show? I have. In SOMETHING ROTTEN the audience response to two of the numbers is so prolonged and euphoric that it seemed like the actors wouldn't be able to continue.

The songs really, really sound like Mel Brooks wrote them for THE PRODUCERS with his orchestrator. Each a homage to brassy, old school, kick-your-heels-up Broadway show tunes.

Maybe the whole thing is so god damn funny and catchy because we have seen and heard it all before. It's highly accomplished Broadway comedy shtick with a Saturday Night Live twist keeping it fresh.

It has the same director as THE BOOK OF MORMON and if it comes to London it could be just as popular.