Chaos Attraction

Something Rotten

2019-02-02, 8:30 p.m.

I went to Mom's for the first time in over a month to go see Something Rotten! in San Jose.

About the first thing she said after I got into the house was that the toilet was still working funny and I should use as little toilet paper as possible and I was not allowed to flush it myself.


I wanted to leave right then on some level. I had WANTED to leave after seeing the play that night. But another "Storm of the Century" is going on this weekend (Jess, living in another state, was all "I heard about it! Stay safe!" and I was thinking, "I am absolutely not staying safe....") and it was probably not going to be safe for driving home in the dark at night. Grrr, argh. I texted my shrink, who was pretty much like "leave, go stay with someone else or get drunk" and I was all "can't do any of that." I probably could have gotten drunk, I suppose, but I wanted to have the option to leave if it wasn't THAT bad at night (hah).

I just tried not to drink much while I was there or just go when we were out. And when ah...I didn't have to just pee, she lectured me again on How Toilets Work and why haven't I gotten mine fixed yet? Gee, how about you, Mom?

I kept my mouth shut. There is nothing I can do to make it better, I can only make it worse.

So, the play Something Rotten is essentially "Shakespearean Musical!" It's about the joys of trying to be a playwright who is NOT William Shakespeare during his time period. It features two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom*, who write plays, or at least Nick does and Nigel does the poetry. Nigel and everyone else loves Shakespeare, who is treated like a rock star**, literally, and Shakespeare's "ruff" is out of spikes and he wears tight leather pants and open shirt, along with his entourage. Nick openly hates Shakespeare, since they used to be in the same acting troupe and Nick wants his life. They are about to lose their patron unless they come up with something new, so Nick gets the bright idea to use the family savings to pay a soothsayer to tell him what the next Big Thing in plays will be.

* Lotta reused Shakespearean names in this.
** David Bowie would have made an excellent Shakespeare in this.

The soothsayer, Thomas Nostradamus (his nephew), is actually pretty good at this, and says that the next big thing is going to be musicals. This gives the show a lot of excuses to pay homage to other musicals, as Nostradamus picks up information a la Agnes Nutter in Good Omens.

So Nick's bright idea is to write a musical about the biggest thing happening in their time...the Black Plague! This makes the patron leave, but Shylock the Very Nice Moneylender is a theater fan and wants to donate. This is apparently illegal to do, along with Shylock having any other job BUT moneylender*, but Nick is eventually all "fuck it, let's go with it."

* On a related note, I was reading "Spinning Silver," which also features Jewish moneylenders.

Nick's next bright idea is to ask Nostradamus what Shakespeare's greatest play is going to be, and Nostradamus gets...."omelet" and "Danish." "So, a breakfast theme, then?" This doesn't make any sense to anyone, but Nick is hellbent on going with it. Nigel, on the other hand, objects and starts writing his own thing, which sounds suspiciously like the plot of Hamlet.

Nigel is the nice one of the family, and also the one with talent. He falls in love with Portia, a Puritan girl who loves theater and they bond over that, but of course her dad hates all of this/is probably gay. They are a cute couple. Shakespeare is going through a bout of writer's block and is definitely interested in stealing Nigel's work, and dresses up in the 1590's equivalent of a fat suit to play "Toby Bunch," and audition for Nick's company and try to get Nigel's script.

We see the plot of "Omelet: The Musical." It's about as bad as you think it is, with people dancing around in egg and omelet costumes and recycling whatever other musical tidbits Nostradamus could fish up (the uncle is named "Scar"). Somehow this leads to everyone being dragged before the magistrate Falstaff and debating whether or not they will be beheaded.

I haven't mentioned Nick's wife Bea yet. Bea is awesome. Bea, unlike her husband, gets to work, will take the literal shittiest of jobs if need be, will scrape up cabbages for dinner off the street, and outright says she wants to be Nick's right hand man. It's reminding me of "You And Me (But Mostly Me)" in some ways. Nick says Bea can't act, but Bea dresses up as various dudes and gets jobs and stuff. At this point in the play, Bea dresses up as a lawyer* and manages to get Shakespeare to testify to only get them all deported instead. Portia decides to leave with them all.

* NOT Portia...weird.

The play ends with the nice people in America performing a musical about Nigel and Nick's childhood and them finding out that Shakespeare's new play is Hamlet.

It was fun, overall. (Mom slept through it again.) I really liked Bea and wished she got more respect and more of a plot. Nigel is also very nice, as is Portia, and I liked all of those people. I did not like Nick very much, though. He's not bad, but he's not super awesome either and when Bea starts singing about how Nick would always be there for him, I'm all "not so sure about that." He seems pretty self-absorbed and wanky. He also thinks Bea and Shakespeare can't act but both of them fool him. Girl deserves better. Shakespeare is a hoot though.

So, fun fluff musical, I suppose.

After that, I went home and watched "Cat Bowl" on Hallmark Channel, which is apparently a first because they are trying to get adult cats adopted. Dear lord, they have Cameron Mathison and Allison Sweeney being enthusiastic as heck about calling this made up "game" where it has rules like "If a cat gets into the giant hamster ball and rolls it in the right direction, it's a touchdown!" If a cat gets into the tube, it's a touchdown! In the end, it was a "double touchdown" and the teams tied. And all the celebrity guests--Boomer Esiason, Rebecca Romjin, Rodney Peete, Dean Cain, Beth Stern (I did not know Howard Stern was involved in animal raising...or Hallmark), etc. were cheerful as fuck. You gotta give 'em credit for Selling It, I suppose.

Alas, I could not watch Kitten Bowl the next day, as I had to drive home in the nasty storm so Mom could go to Roger's Super Bowl party with the 60 inch television.

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