Review: The National Tour of “Something Rotten!” kicks off in Boston

Angelica Potter

OnStage Massachusetts Critic

Launching their national tour in Boston this week, Something Rotten! plays at the Boston Opera House until January 29th. The tour features Rob McClure as Nick Bottom, Josh Grisetti as Nigel Bottom and Adam Pascal as Shakespeare. All three closed the Broadway run in those roles a few short weeks ago. Lucky for us they are now touring this hilarious show with twenty-four other incredible performers and it is clear from the start why this show was nominated for ten Tony Awards in 2015. 

The show transports us to London, circa 1595, where the Renaissance is well underway. There we meet the Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel, who are writers and actors constantly competing with William Shakespeare to put a hit play on the stage. After one too many failed ideas, Nick visits a soothsayer to find out what Shakespeare’s biggest hit will be, and what the future holds for the theatrical world. The pandemonium that ensues keeps the audience laughing for the rest of the show. 
Rob McClure, as Nick, was energetic and funny throughout, delivering solid vocals and sharp comedic timing. His interactions with Maggie Lakis, his wife Bea, were believably heartfelt. 

Her vocals were superbly showcased in “Right Hand Man”. With his pure vocals, Josh Grisetti, as Nigel, was delightful and his interactions with Portia, played by Autumn Hurlbert, were adorably sweet. Both pairs had great chemistry and their voices blended wonderfully. 

Adam Pascal is outstanding as Shakespeare and shined in both “Will Power” and “Hard to Be the Bard”. His “duel” of sorts with Nick, towards the end of act one, was fantastic and impeccably well timed. The soothsayer Nostradamus, played by Blake Hammond, was hilarious and his visions of future musicals and Shakespeare’s greatest play instantly generated exuberant laughter from the audience. Hammond was exceptional! 

The audience produced robust, long-lasting applause after three of act one’s numbers: “A Musical”, “Will Power” and “Bottom’s Gonna Be on Top”. Similarly, “Something Rotten!” and “Make an Omelette” in act two had the audience laughing hysterically. After the finale, just as the lights came up for the curtain call, the audience leapt to their feet with thunderous and vocal applause. They clearly enjoyed this production. Though I think this production is best enjoyed by people who are familiar with famous musicals and Shakespeare’s works, it’s ridiculously fun enough that even the occasional theatre goer, unfamiliar with the many references made, will find it amusing. Something Rotten! reminded me of the first time I saw Monty Python’s Spamalot. Having at that time, a very limited knowledge of the Monty Python films and humor; I didn’t get every joke, but still found myself laughing and enjoying the overall production. With this show, I caught almost all of the references and was able to enjoy it even more, laughing aloud at many comical moments. 

Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, this production is full of exciting, well executed dancing and smart staging. The transitions between scenes and songs were quick and seamless. All the technical elements from the sets to the costumes were stunning and blended together wonderfully. If you didn’t get to see this on Broadway, you have got to check out the tour! Due to the “colorful” content, I recommend this show for a mature audience. It’s a fun, lighthearted, musical comedy sprinkled with farce that will make you laugh and elevate your spirits for a little over two hours.© Like Nostradamus sings, and I completely agree, “go see something more relaxing and less taxing on the brain…there’s nothing quite like a musical!”.

Visit ,, or to purchase tickets, to learn more about the show or to find out where the tour goes next. Photo: Joan Marcus

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