Archives for July 2022

We Will Rock You: Nostalgia Bucks

publicity photo for We Will Rock You

Yes, queen! (Photo of Steffanie Davis as Killer Queen by Emily Cooper)

We Will Rock You is dripping with so much old-fart attitude you can almost smell it.

A jukebox musical built to cash in on the songs of Queen, We Will Rock You is relentlessly nostalgic and condescending. The thesis of Ben Elton’s book can be boiled down to: “The music kids listen to these days is shit. What they really need is a band like Queen to make them cooler, which means more like their grandparents.” Given all of that, it’s hardly surprising that We Will Rock You is also sexist, although it pretends not to be.

Before I go any further, let me also say that there are some excellent performances and other production successes in director Saccha Dennis’s mounting for Theatre Under the Stars. But let’s start with the story, which is set 300 years in the future, and build back up from there. [Read more…]

Something Rotten! is so tasty!

Publicity photo for Something Rotten!

Kamyar Pazandeh and Jyla Robinson (Photo by Emily Cooper)

Much to my surprise, Something Rotten! is very entertaining.

I went in wary. I’d never heard of the show and all I knew about the plot was that somebody in Elizabethan England invents musical theatre. Okay, I thought, we’ll see …

But then I got there, and I fell into a kind of quicksand of hilarity. There was no getting out.

Here’s a more complete set-up: yes, we’re in Elizabethan England and a struggling playwright named Nick Bottom has to come up with some fresh ideas or his patron will cut him off. Unlike William Shakespeare, who’s getting all the attention, Nick is not a fountain of literary genius, so he consults a soothsayer, a distant relative of Nostradamus. This lesser-known Nostradamus tips Nick off that musicals will be big in the future and, when Nick is looking for a plot for his musical and asks Nostradamus what the Bard’s biggest hit will be, the soothsayer replies “Omelette” — just missing Hamlet by that much. [Read more…]

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