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The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Review: Menlo Drama Outdoes Itself With Production of “Something Rotten”

Menlo Drama has outdone itself once again with its production of the 2015 Broadway smash-hit musical “Something Rotten”, which opened last Friday night. After watching the performance, I was again reminded of the incredible talent of Menlo students. The dance numbers were full of energy and the way the actors delivered their lines made the audience erupt in laughter several times. 

Starting with the details, the costumes were flawless; they were colorful and eye-catching but appropriate for the show’s late 16th-century setting. It was easy to see the effort put into the show’s sets as they were elegantly crafted and practical, often serving multiple purposes within the musical. But the performers are what Menlo students and families came to see. Between the comic precision, emotional punch packed by the delivery of lines, and the funny yet passionate songs, the actors’ ability to convey the message of the play in an entertaining manner impressed me. The quality of the production astounded me as well, especially considering the two-month time frame the director, actors, and crew had to create it and the young age of the performers. 

The musical was undoubtedly performed flawlessly, but there was one aspect that I had questions about. I couldn’t help but wonder whether younger students or siblings of Menlo students would be/were taken aback by the show’s more mature content. I would argue that several of the sexual jokes and provocative language were unsuitable for younger audiences, which may have prevented some Menlo community members from attending an event intended to bring together the entire community. 

Additionally, much of the humor within the show depended on the audience’s knowledge of certain references, many of which spectators such as myself didn’t understand. The impact of the humorous remarks depended on the audience’s awareness of Shakespearean plays, as well as other performed shows, movies, and TV shows. Some references were easier to detect like the tribute to “Annie,” however, some were harder to distinguish which meant noticeably less laughter from the audience. “Les Miserables,” “Cats,” and “Chicago,” among others, were touched on at some point in the musical. In this way, I think there was some connection lost between the performers and parts of the audience at times because audience members didn’t understand the references. 

Despite my uncertainty about particular elements of the show selection, I thoroughly enjoyed attending and appreciated the meticulous preparation that went into making the show great. I look forward to attending future Menlo drama performances, and think the rest of the Menlo community should prioritize taking the time to attend as well.

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About the Contributor
Caroline Clack
Caroline Clack, A&L Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 2

Favorite aspect of journalism: Seeing all of our finished stories in print/online and definitely the CoA community of writers and editors

Interests outside of school: mock trial, soccer, & spending time with friends/family

Class of 2026

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