Thursday 3 August 2023

The SpongeBob Musical - Review

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London


Based on the series by Stephen Hillenburg
Book by Kyle Jarrow
Directed by Tara Overfield Wilkinson

The company of The SpongeBob Musical

There are some great moments in The SpongeBob Musical - but they’re not enough to make a great musical.

The denizens of Stephen Hillenburg’s anarchic, aquatic Bikini Bottom made for one of television’s finest creations in recent decades. But where Nickelodeon’s cartoons brilliantly mirrored the shallow fallibilities of humanity with their sharply written satire that ingeniously appealed to both kids and adults, this onstage treatment is left floundering.

Lewis Cornay in the title role puts in an adequate caricature of the pineapple-dwelling lead. But it is left to Tom Read Wilson’s inspired, tap-dancing(!) 4-legged Squidward, Chrissie Bhima’s Texan squirrel Sandy Cheeks and Richard J Hunt’s Eugene Krabs to take the honours for lifting the show to occasional bursts of finely crafted wit.

As for Irfan Damani’s Patrick Star, SpongeBob’s closest friend and a critically important featured role in any take on Bikini Bottom, producers take note: a T-shirt and a beanie cap do not a starfish make. And for tickets that can cost up to £99, the scenery is shambolic. With no playlist in the programme individual songs are hard to credit, although to be fair the onstage band put in a decent shift.

There's barely enough entertainment for the children here and nowhere near enough classy dialog for the grown-ups. Soggy.

Runs until 27th August
Photo credit: Mark Senior 

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