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Review: Something Rotten! at QC Music Guild

Wow. What a dynamic doublet of Shakespeare I had over the weekend. I went from Illinois Shakespeare Festival’s The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) on Friday and segued into Music Guild’s production of Something Rotten on Saturday. Yup…a Shakespeare nerd’s Nirvana.

BOTH shows were BRILLIANT – but my focus here is the Music Guild’s rendition of Something Rotten – and OMG…LOL…it is hilarious.

This dazzling script is written by the perfect collaboration of John O’Farrell, a Brit, and Karey Kirkpatrick, an American, who have interwoven the genius of British theater – William Shakespeare – with the equally quintessential genesis of the American theater – the musical – and is replete with references and lines (some bawdy) from Shakespearean plays AND American musicals.

As briefly as possible, the plot revolves around aspiring playwrights, Nick and Nigel Bottom who are painfully overshadowed by The Bard and are under threat of losing their patron’s support. To achieve success and outdo Will Shakespeare Nick seeks the help of local seer, Thomas Nostradamus, (nephew of THE Nostradamus) to predict the future trend of theater…the musical!!!

To one-up Will, Nick wants to usurp Will’s seminal opus: Hamlet. This goes woefully, woefully and hysterically awry.

Director/Choreographer, Steph DeLacy, has assembled a galaxy of super nova performers all of whom can not only SING, but can TAP DANCE their way through multiple tap-happy scenes, including the number “A Muscial” which, to my surprise, I looked down and found MY toe tapping!

All caps, bold, underlined and italicized BRAVOS go out to the stage crews who constructed an elaborate Elizabethan set that encompassed the entire stage area, performed gargantuan scene changes, and designed and assembled all new costuming since Music Guild has never before performed a show set in medieval times.

The cast of main characters: Ben Holmes and Joseph Lasher as Nick and Nigel Bottom, respectively, Andy Sederquist as Shakespeare, Alex Ryser as Nostradamus, Lauren Van Speybroeck as Nick’s wife, Bea, Jake Walker as Brother Jeremiah and Callen Sederquist as his daughter, Portia, Andy Koski as Lord Clapham, Rick Davis as Shylock, and DeVonte Westley as the Minstrel were all SO spot on that it is difficult if not impossible to single any one of them out. The company of talent on that stage floored me.

However, the fly in the ointment was that there were times the orchestra’s volume drowned out the vocals, most notably in the opening number, “Welcome to the Renaissance”; AND Andy Sederquist’s use of a British accent, ala “Sting,” seriously effected his enunciation which resulted in lost lyrics during his dynamic number, “Will Power.”

Despite that, hie thee to yon Music Guild for a fun-filled, riotous, sidesplitting show.

Something Rotten continues at Music Guild, located in Prospect Park, Moline, Wednesday through Saturday, June 16th through 18th at 7:30 pm and Sunday June 19th at 2pm.