The SpongeBob Musical Review: crazy, colourful fun!

I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the theatre to see this show, but luckily my companion did.

The SpongeBob Musical is a riot of craziness, colour and fun. We really enjoyed this show – it was a light-hearted adventure for SpongeBob and his friends and a fun evening for us.

For those who don’t know, SpongeBob SquarePants is an American children’s cartoon series created by Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. It chronicled the adventures of the title character and his aquatic friends in the fictional underwater town of Bikini Bottom.

The musical version was written by Kyle Jarrow and conceived by Tina Landauy and tells the story of one such adventure. SpongeBob and his friends are spurred into action after a tremors spoil residents’ peace and quiet.

We quickly learn their hometown, Bikini Bay, is under threat of complete destruction by a volcano eruption and the future looks bleak. A lockdown is imposed, there’s constant news on television, scientists’ warnings, posters asking people to ‘Protect the kelp, save yourselves’ and of course toilet roll hoarding! The tale was reminiscent of you know what!

14. THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL. Divina de Campo Plankton and Company. Photo Mark Senior
The SpongeBob Musical cast at the New Theatre, Photo credit: Mark Senior

SpongeBob is full of double entendres, jokes, great one-liners and an amazing energy. It was great fun for the many children and adults in the audience. We overheard two young men chatting as they went into the theatre about how the cartoon was from their era and how much they were looking forward to the show! Judging by the audience’s reaction, all the claps and whoops everyone had a great time.

Our highlight was SpongeBob himself, played by Lewis Cornay, who has a string of theatre credits to his name. He was superb, energetic and really brought the character to life. We also liked Irfan Damani who played the dippy but delightful Patrick Star.

Listen out for the brilliant sound effects – we loved the squeak of Gareth Gates’ Squidward Q Tentacles as he walked around the stage with all four legs.

And of course mention should go to Sheldon J Plankton, played by Divina De Campo, who plotted against SpongeBob. He was both hilarious and equally impressive for not tripping over in those huge boots.

5. THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL. Hannah Lowther Karen the Computer and Divina de Campo Plankton. Photo Mark Senior
Divina De Campo (R) as Plankton in SpongeBob the Musical | Photo credit Mark Senior

Big respect goes to the designers who created the most fantastic costumes. Honestly, they were spellbinding – you looked and then looked again as your brain tried to work out what they were made of. We spotted headwear and dresses made from blue and purple latex gloves; umbrellas which were transformed into Jelly Fish, and the volcano made from single use plastic bottles. It was really, really effective and great to see junk being reused in such a fabulous way. Oh and watch out for the band’s crazy hats – we spotted plastic cups, straws, CDs, tennis rackets. Tell us what we missed?

This was a crazy, fun and lovely show and we would recommend watching it. It became a Broadway hit – and we can see why! The show is at Oxford’s New Theatre, in George Street, until Saturday.

Where: New Theatre Oxford
when: Wed 26 Apr – Sat 29 Apr 2023

Book tickets here: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-spongebob-musical/new-theatre-oxford/

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