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REVIEW - THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL | MANCHESTER OPERA HOUSE | 19/05/2023


The spongebob musical artwork


The Spongebob Musical is based on the popular Nickelodeon animated kids TV series Spongebob squarepants, about a yellow sponge called spongebob who lives in a pineapple under the sea. The Tv show has been seen in more than 170 countries and has been translated into 30+ languages and has a huge fanbase.

The original production of the musical opened in Chicago in June 2016, It then transferred to Broadway opening at the Palace Theatre in November 2017. Productions of the show have also taken place in Greece, Germany and it is now touring the UK.


the spongebob musical cast

The Town of Bikini bottom is at threat of Impending doom when the nearby volcano Mount Humongus is about to erupt and Wipeout the town. Spongebob (Lewis Cornay) and his friends have to devise a plan to save the Town and prove once and for all that he is not just a simple sponge. The Evil Sheldon J Plankton (Divina De Campo) and his computer wife Karen (Hannah Lowther) take advantage of the situation and come up with a plan which will allow Sheldon to hypnotise the entire town into believing they love his chum burgers.


plankton and Karen from the spongebob musical

What I loved most about this musical were the songs every one was amazing and so catchy. Each song in the musical is by a different artist, the show actually enlisted some big names to write the songs including Cyndi Lauper, John Legend & Panic At The Disco. Even though all the songs are written by different people who have their own unique styles all the songs work so well together. I not sure if I can pick just one favourite song but I loved the opening number "Bikini Bottom Day" as it introduces us to all the characters perfectly but I also Loved "Simple Sponge" and the way they staged this number was great.


Lewis Cornay as Spongebob in the Spongebob musical

The set designed by Steve Howells caught my eye as soon as I stepped foot in the Auditorium, it was bright, colourful and fun however it was quite simple. At the front of the stage there were two flat set pieces one on one side of the stage representing the crusty crab restaurant and one on the opposite side representing the chum bucket restaurant. Each of these had a screen mounted on to it and the screens were used to show news reports about the upcoming disaster. The back of the stage was made to look like a sunken ship and had alcoves in it which housed the band who were present on stage throughout the show. There were also some screens placed on the back of the set which were used to show images of different sea creatures which helped to create the illusion of being under the sea. One set piece which was a little disappointing was the volcano, it was made of plastic bottles to represent sea pollution but it was just a little underwhelming, this is supposed to be a huge volcano which is extremely hard to scale but it wasn't much taller than the cast members.

The costumes were designed by Sarah Mercade's and I loved them, they were cleverly designed so you knew exactly who the characters were without resorting to actual costumes of the characters.


the spongebob musical cast

I thought the cast for this show were outstanding. Lewis Cornay was perfectly cast as Spongebob, he got Spongebobs voice and mannerisms spot on and he truly embodies the sponge, he also has am amazing singing voice and his solo song "Simple Sponge" was just perfect. Patrick star was played by Irfan Damani who had great comic timing and was hilarious in the role. There were also a couple of Star names in the cast, we had Tom Read-Wilson as Squidward & Davina De Campo as Plankton. Toms interpretation of Squidward was excellent and his tap dancing number "I'm not a loser" was enjoyed by all. Divina De Campo as the evil plankton was just fantastic and she showed off her rapping skills in "When the Going Gets tough". The ensemble cast members were all fantastic and had a lot to do and each one gets their own moment to shine.


Tom Read Wilson as Squidward in spongebob the musical

At the performance I was at their were a few technical difficulties which did lead to a short show stop. I think the show stop was due to the screens which show some pre recorded footage, all the characters turned to the screen and nothing happened. There also seemed to be some sound issues, the microphones were not coming on in time for the characters to deliver their lines and so we would miss the first few words they would say. I heard from other people who have seen the show that this has been an issue throughout its run in Manchester, I'm not sure if it has been the same at other venues.


Divina De Campo as Plankton in the Spongebob musical

One nice touch that took place before the second act started was that they did a giveaway, they got all the children who were wearing a nick watch wrist band ( you could collect these for free at the kiosks) to shout and whoever they decided was shouting the loudest received a free Nick Watch.


Overall The Spongebob musical is an excellent family show that both children and adults will enjoy, If you are a fan of the TV show then you will definitely love the musical.

I rated the show 4 stars


The SpongeBob Musical runs at the Manchester Opera House from 16th - 21st May and will be touring the UK until early September.


Photo Credit - Mark Senior


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