It’s 1595 in South London. The rebirth of Europe, generally known as, nicely, The Renaissance (which suggests rebirth), is underway.
William Shakespeare (David Burnham) is a famous person. A condescending, posing, foppish twit. But in addition a prolific, word-inventing genius. And an inveterate thief of different individuals’s concepts.
Nick Backside (Cameron Bond-Sczempka), a marginal playwright, and his brother, Nigel (Bryan Banville), a promising poet, are attempting to compete, however failing dismally. Their patron leaves them. The moneylender, Shylock (Dallas McLaughlin), needs to participate of their productions, however by English legislation, Jews can solely lend cash, not make investments it.
Nick’s spouse, Bea (Chelle Denton) goes out to work, dressed as a person (she will be able to’t do what she needs, both). Nigel’s swooning girlfriend, Portia (Liliana Rodriguez), the daughter of a stern Puritan Justice of the Peace, Brother Jeremiah (Johnny Fletcher), is distributed off to a nunnery.
Thus far, a lot taken, in some ways, from numerous characters and plotlines in Shakespeare’s performs. You get an concept of how far afield this goes, bearing on sexism, anti-Semitism, anti-Shakespeare-ism and spiritual zealotry.
In desperation, out of cash and concepts, Nick consults the soothsayer, Nostradamus (Randall Hickman) — a distant relative of the legendary oracle. Nick begs him to say the sooth, to wit, inform him what’s going to be the Subsequent Massive Factor in theater (“Rhyming couplets; that’s so 1580s”), and likewise inform him what the long run will think about to be Shakespeare’s biggest play.
What the seer’s not-always-reliable visions reveal are Musical, Omelette and Ham. One out of three‘s not unhealthy. Armed with that doubtful information, the Bottoms got down to be On High.
The goofball mashup musical, with a rating by brothers Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick and guide by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick, opened on Broadway in 2015. It was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, however solely scored one, for Christian Borle as Shakespeare.
In 2017, the nationwide tour got here near San Diego — Segerstrom Corridor in Costa Mesa — with Adam Pascal (authentic forged of “Lease”) as The Bard, and Rob McClure (Charlie Chaplin in “Limelight” on the La Jolla Playhouse in 2010; Tony nominee for “Mrs. Doubtfire”) as Nick Backside. It was a knockout… at the least the primary act.
That makes this Moonlight Stage manufacturing the regional premiere of the present. As typical, they’ve pulled out all of the stops.
Once more, the over-long first act is the spotlight of the piece, in plot and music, with killer numbers just like the opening, “Welcome to the Renaissance,” Nick’s “God, I Hate Shakespeare,” a creepy, COVID-relevant “The Black Loss of life,” Shakespeare’s self-promoting “Will Energy” and the show-stopper, “A Musical,” sung by Nostradamus.
In that tune, greater than a dozen Broadway musical hits are parodied and imitated, from “Les Miz” to “A Refrain Line,” “South Pacific” to “Annie,” “Evita” to “Lease” to “Seussical” to “Chicago” to “The Music Man.” It’s a surprising feat of caricature, in writing, singing, dancing and choreography. And Hickman, on the helm, appears to be relishing each second of it. That quantity alone is well worth the value of admission.
Hickman is the brightest mild within the manufacturing. Although Nick Backside ought to take heart stage, Banville’s Nigel is the extra compelling sibling right here. Their womenfolk are each enjoyable and vocally proficient. Burnham’s Bard, in his painted-on pants (smaller codpiece than in different productions!), appears to be making all of the Borle strikes, however he makes them nicely.
Within the second act, the humor flags, as do the musical numbers, aside from Shakespeare’s spoiled-brat lament, “Laborious to be the Bard.”
The entire omelet gambit, the dancing eggs, the how-to-make-an-omelet bit, fall souffle-flat.
However, beneath the course of Jamie Torcellini, who has appeared on the Moonlight stage hilariously up to now (as Max in “The Producers,” Doolittle in “My Truthful Girl,” Patsy in “Spamalot,” Igor in “Younger Frankenstein”), and directed two productions in 2019 (“Magnificence and the Beast,” “Matilda”), the 25-member forged offers it their all. Choreographer Invoice Burns additionally does a terrific job, as does music director/conductor Michael Paternostro, together with his 11-piece orchestra.
The set (Paul Black), Lighting (Jennifer Edwards) and sound (Brandon Boomizad) are efficient. The costumes (Robin McGee) are terrific.
So, what does the title consult with? “Hamlet,” like a lot else on this present? (with its well-known line, “One thing’s rotten within the state of Denmark”). Or the rotten eggs? Or the rotten Egg concept? It’s your name.
Simply bear in mind: Act One is sensible; Act Two is foolish. No matter tickles your humorous bone.
- “One thing Rotten!” runs by means of Aug. 6 on the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Brengle Terrace Park, 1200 Vale Terrace Drive in Vista
- Performances are at 8 p.m .Wednesday-Sunday
- Tickets ($17-$56) can be found at 760-724-2110 or on-line at moonlightstage.com
- Operating time: 2 hrs. 30 min.
Pat Launer, a member of the American Theatre Critics Affiliation, is a long-time San Diego arts author and an Emmy Award-winning theater critic. An archive of her previews and opinions could be discovered at patlauner.com.