The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

25/11/2023 - 27/01/2024

Production Details

Book by John O'Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick
Music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick
Director: Benjamin Kilby-Henson
Musical Director: Richard Marrett
Choreographer: Kira Josephson

The Court Theatre

Welcome to the Renaissance and all that jazz!

It’s England 1595 and playwright brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom can’t compete with the rockstar popularity of a certain William Shakespeare. Desperate to out-Bard the Bard, Nick consults a soothsayer and learns that the next big thing in theatre will be a MUSICAL—a play where “an actor is saying his lines, and out of nowhere he just starts singing”—but “nothing’s as amazing as a musical!”

The Bottom brothers set out to write the world’s very first musical, Omelette, while caught in a bitter battle with Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Nick’s wife Bea is disguising herself as a man and Nigel has fallen in love with Portia, a puritan’s daughter. Filled with wordplay, musical, historical, and Shakespearean references, Something Rotten! is a hilarious celebration of musical theatre with something for everyone.

Something Rotten! is witty, high energy and full of big musical numbers in which Broadway and the Bard hilariously collide.

The Court Theatre
Opening Night : Saturday 25 November 2023
Forum Night : Monday 27 November 2023
Matinee : Saturday 16 December 2023
Closing Night : Saturday 27 January 2024

Mon and Thurs : 6:30pm
Tue, Wed, Fri and Sat : 7:30pm
Matinee : 2pm (Saturday 16 December 2023)

Standard Senior Friends *Child/CSC/Student Group: 6+
Mon, Tues $59 $57 $54 $39 10% off Standard, Senior, Friends, and Child prices
Wed, Thurs $69 $67 $64 $39 10% off Standard, Senior, Friends, and Child prices
Fri, Sat (evening) $79 $77 $74 $44 10% off Standard, Senior, Friends, and Child prices
Matinee (Sat 16 Dec) $69 $67 $64 $39 10% off Standard, Senior, Friends, and Child prices
* Child – under 18 years, CSC – Community Services or Hāpai Card, Student – ID Card Holders

Character: Played by:
Nick Bottom Jonathan Martin
Nigel Bottom Cameron Douglas
Shakespeare Matu Ngaropo
Bea Monique Clementson
Portia Bianca Paine
Nostradamus Paul Barrett
Brother Jeremiah / Ensemble Cameron Clayton
Shylock / Lord Clapham / Understudy Nick Bottom Ben Freeth
Tom Snout / Understudy Shakespeare & Brother Jeremiah Nick Purdie
Snug / Understudy Shylock and Lord Clapham Olly Humphries
Peter / Understudy Nostradamus Jack Marshall
Robin / Minstrel Jared Pallesen
Francis / Understudy Nigel and Minstrel Bryn Monk
Yorrick Jackson Lam Sheung
Ensemble / Understudy Bea Eve Kelly Lyford
Ensemble / Understudy Portia Lucy Sutcliffe
Ensemble Jacqueline Doherty
Ensemble Tiahli Martyn
Ensemble Charlotte Taylor
Swing Jack Duff
Swing Kira Josephson
Ensemble Ethan Chittock
Ensemble Sarah Clare Judd

Director: Benjamin Kilby-Henson
Musical Director: Richard Marrett
Choreographer: Kira Josephson
Costume Designer & Manager: Tina Hutchison-Thomas
Set Designer: Dan Williams
Properties Manager: Julian Southgate
Lighting Designer: Darren McKane (Lightsite)
Assistant Lighting Designer: Giles Tanner
Sound Designer: Glen Ruske (BounceNZ)
Stage Manager: Louise Topping
Stage Manager cover: Mandy Perry
Intimacy Direction: Kira Josephson
Costume Construction: Daniella Salazar, Findlay Currie, Pauline Laws, Tracey Hollands, Louise Gallagher, Pam Jones, Annie Graham, Carolyn Hutchison, Scott Leighton
Wig Designer: Zoe Buckland
Wig Stylist: Patrice Hammond
Set Construction: Nigel Kerr, Seth Ellis, Andrew Scott, Annie Graham, Nick Lowry, David Bosworth
Properties Artist: Kristina (Krissy) Clark
Properties Assistant: Rochelle Wright, Annie Graham, Rosie Gilmore
Lighting Operator: Geoff Nunn (until 18 December), Darren McKane (from 18 December)
Sound Operator: Eve Curzon
Assistant Stage Manager & Dresser: Lily Bourne
Assistant Stage Manager & Sound Assistant: Haydon Dickie
Dresser: Rosie Gilmore
Lighting Crew: Geoff Nunn, Brett Lupton, Rosie Gilmore, Sean Hampton
Production Manager: Tim Bain
Production Assistant: Amanda Hare

Live Musicians:
Richard Marrett – Musical Director and Keyboard One
Bradley Grainger – Bass
Mike Ferrar – Guitar
Caelan Thomas – Keyboard Two & Rehearsal Pianist
Zak Williams – Drums

Musical , Theatre ,

2hrs 20 min

So good and such fun that you will be laughing from start to finish

Review by Julie McCloy 09th Dec 2023

I come to view The Court Theatre’s summer musical Something Rotten almost two weeks into its nine-week run, and by now the show is into a smooth groove. This is The Court Theatre show I had wanted to see ever since it was announced – a comedy mashup of Shakespeare and musicals. My dream show!

Something Rotten is making its Australasian premiere at The Court Theatre and, after a rocky period for the theatre, a lot rides on its success. This show needs to deliver star power and it brings it in spades, from cast and creatives alike.

In a nutshell, our story takes us to Ye Olde Elizabethan England where the Bottom brothers, Nick (Jonathan Martin) and Nigel (Cameron Douglas), are struggling to make an impression on the theatre world thanks to the misfortune of having to compete with megastar (‘as in I-am-bic pentameter’) Shakespeare. This rockstar Bard is played with knowing, seductive swagger by Matu Ngaropo. Adored by fans wherever he goes, he is the bees-knees; he knows it and revels in it.

Taking the family’s hard-earned savings, Nick visits a soothsayer, Thomas Nostradamus (Paul Barrett) in an attempt to learn what the ‘next big thing’ in theatre will be, so that the Bottoms can, for once, gazump Shakespeare. No surprises to our audience – it’s the musical. Even better, if Nick can find out what Shakespeare’s biggest success ever will be (Hamlet), perhaps the Bottoms can turn the tables on Shakespeare and get to the story first.

Unfortunately, the world of prognostication is not an exact science (or a science at all), and Nostradamus slightly misinterprets Hamlet for Omelette. (But given that he correctly foresees a game of chess and a clowder of cats becoming mega-hits in the future, why not a dozen barn-fresh?) Along the ways are disapproving Puritans, the never-ending drama of securing financial backing, and the women’s rights movement.

From the moment the stunning black and white Tudor-esque illustrated curtains open we can see that this show will be big in every way. It has a huge cast (23 actors) for a Court show and a production crew so extensive that cast credits don’t even make it onto the programme’s production page. The creatives rule here. Apparently 75 have been involved in a process that has taken many months. The Court always boasts high production values and hosts clever creativity, and collectively this team has done a stunning job.

Directed by Benjamin Kilby-Henson, this show is fast paced, fun and exceedingly ‘extra’, and that is a perfect combo here. The set design by Dan Williams may be monochrome but it’s as far from bland as you can get – its black and white sixteenth century-style block-cut flats twist and morph into new facades and sets like Transformers. The lighting (designed by Darren McKane and Giles Tanner) brings it to life and seamlessly transforms scenes in focus, time and mood. The sound (Glen Ruske) is clear and spot on, with sound effects perfectly timed, and the music, led by rockstar musical director Richard Marrett is, predictably, perfectly on point.

I enjoy spotting props (Julian Southgate) that subtly give extra smiles, such as the Queen Elizabeth I ‘Like a Virgin’ poster, and the programmes of past Court musicals proudly integrated as part of the chorus action. Kyra Josephson’s choreography is modern, fabulous and joyous. I never imagined I would ever see jazz hands and puffling pants so brilliantly combined!

And the costumes – wow! From the moment the curtains open and we see the ensemble for the first time in their riotously coloured and patterned outfits, you know we are here to party like it’s 1599.  They pop against the muted background and add to the fairground, joyous vibe of the show. Tina Hutchison-Thomas and her team apparently made over 400 pieces for 127 major costumes. That alone deserves a round of applause.

When it comes to the cast, Ngaropo’s charisma fills the stage with his knowing, naughty and smug Shakespeare, exuding ‘Willpower’ off the stage and into the audience. He is, simply, brilliant. As the Bottom brothers, Martin and Douglas bring their lovable but unlucky characters to life with energy and humour. I am rooting for unsavvy businessman Nick to make ‘Omelette – the Musical’ work, against the odds, and for naïve slacker-poet Nigel to win his true love. Their respective love interests are Bea, Nick’s proto-feminist wife (Monique Clementson), and puritan Portia (Bianca Paine), who is in love with love and poetry. Paine imbues her with both sweetness and passion, and Clementson is always a stand-out. She throws herself into her role with gusto and shows off once again an incredible voice – strong, clear and beautiful.

Barrett’s canny, confused clairvoyant perfectly captures both incredulity at what entertainment will look like in the future, and just enough certainty to justify his fee. Cameron Clayton rounds out the leads as the undercover-camp Puritan preacher Brother Jeremiah, who finally fully shines when his pink sequins are revealed.

The ensemble is wonderful, and I am reminded just how talented the entire cast of shows like this must be, to act, sing and dance; and all with only five weeks of rehearsal! Two standouts for me are Ben Freeth, who seems to be constantly onstage in different guises as Shylock, Lord Clapham and in the ensemble (well done to the dressers for all the quick changes!), and Jared Pallesen as Robin/ Minstrel. His singing and swooning open the show and sets the perfect tone and high standard for everything that follows.

After two excellent but intense recent musicals (RENT and Next to Normal), it’s nice to have the joy back onstage at The Court Theatre. Something Rotten is fun and fabulous, and you will never see the theatre-world the same once you have witnessed a chorus line of dancing, bejewelled omelettes – unforgettable. If you love Shakespeare and/or musicals, there are dozens of in-jokes to enjoy, but even if you are not a committed fan of either, Something Rotten is so good and such fun that you will be laughing from start to finish, and humming some new show tunes after you leave.


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