By: Cathryn Macey, TRP Reviewer
Tonight’s performance of The SpongeBob Musical is most definitely as explosive as its main story line. It deserves the standing ovation and riotous audience response it receives throughout.
Whilst SpongeBob (played charmingly by Lewis Cornay) is busy summoning the courage and know how to create a ‘rupture interruptor’, his peers and boss are turning against one another. Money obsessed Mr Krabs is using the impending disaster as a way to boost sales of his famous burgers and the devious Sheldon (Divina De Campo) is also cooking up ways to capitalise on others’ misfortunes. He’s assisted by the equally devilish Karen The Computer. (TikTok star Hannah Lowther.)
To be fair to Squidward (played comically by Tom Read Wilson), he does try to help! He plans to organise a Live Aid style charity benefit gig to raise funds to stage a full evacuation of Bikini Bottom. However, as he lacks the charisma of Bob Geldolf, Squidward’s altruistic attempts to get Cod Stewart and Tuna Turner on board to save the day fail and the event is cancelled. Boo!
Can our porous protagonist (SpongeBob) pick the pieces of his shattered confidence up from the seabed in time to rescue his fellow citizens from the imminent eruption? Or will this be the end for Patrick Star, SpongeBob and all of the colourful characters that inhabit this crazy place?
If you’re not a superfan of the original show, you might feel reluctant to go and find out what happens. After all, this is a musical based on the antics of a cartoon sponge! However, this production is exceptional and will leave you smiling from ear to ear, whether you’re a fan or not.
What really stands out this evening is the calibre of talent on stage. Featuring an all-star cast including Celebs Go Dating favourite Tom Read Wilson and Ru Paul’s Drag Race’s Divina De Campo, all of the performers are incredible dancers and singers. Not a note or beat is missed as this highly experienced ensemble cast bounce their way through a variety of original tracks written exclusively for the show by the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco and John Legend.
These catchy tracks including the oh – so – sweet, “I’m not a Simple Sponge”, are all performed by a live band that double up as Bikini Bottom’s resident rock stars, ‘The Electric Skates.’ The band are a big part of the show and help to create the spontaneous, fun atmosphere running through the entire performance. It wouldn’t be the same without them!
Another fun aspect of the performance is the inventive use of set, costume and props. The bubbles on the bright blue and bold stage change colour to match the characters’ emotions and the simplest of objects are transformed from the mundane to the ridiculous to keep us all mesmerised.
Neon sponges morph into a variety of shapes during Spongebob’s heartfelt solo in Act 1. Against the blacked-out stage, these simple sponges ‘pop’ as they make a range of visual motifs to complement the messages within the song; messages about growing up, gaining confidence and not letting other people, or rather, crustaceans, put you down.
The two ‘well known’ stars of tonight’s show (Tom Read Wilson and Divina De Campo) show that they are worth more than the ‘reality celebrity’ title some folks may use to describe them. Both performers dazzle in their own way; Divina even had a superfan next to me amazed by her rapping, singing and dancing skills and ‘posh boy’ Tom excels in a wonderfully camp, tap-dancing number in Act 2. There are canes, there are top hats. We are all in awe!
Praise needs to go to the rest of the cast too who wow throughout. Sarah Freer’s soulful voice as brattish teen, Pearl Krabbs, is impeccable and Lewis Cornay as SpongeBob is fantastic at conveying his character’s feelings when Patrick ditches him for a hareem of adoring squids!!
It’s mad, it’s satirical, it’s fun….
Swim down to TRP asap to catch this magical family production while you can.