MusicalNorth East & YorkshireReview

The SpongeBob Musical – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Reviewer: Christopher Holmes

Book: Kyle Jarrow

Music and Lyrics: Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady A, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, T.I., David Bowie and Tom Kenny & Andy Paley

Additional Music: Tom Kitt

Director: Tara Overfield Wilkinson

Seen in more than 170 countries and averaging more than 500 million views each year, Stephen Hillenburg’s SpongeBob SquarePants is hailed as the number one animated kids’ show on TV. The Path Entertainment Group, under the watchful eye of Tara Overfield Wilkinson, brings these iconic characters to life on stage as part of a UK tour.

There’s much to like about Nickelodeon’s The SpongeBob Musical; a show crammed in with jokes on the right side of lame. With blissful songs and high-spirited performances this might just be this critic’s guilty pleasure. The cast have a vivifying energy flooding the theatre with high-octane musical staging andvirtuoso character actors that make a preposterous plot into a mesmerising 2 hours of pure escapism. Capturing the innocently idiotic spirit of the Nickelodeon cartoon, this brilliant and bonkers trip to Bikini Bottom is trippy and terrific. It’s not a flawless production. It is at times clunky and clumsy but that doesn’t matter here though. The whole premise is intentionally hammy.

This is a technically heavy show so you can perhaps forgive the odd mic cues not being as faultless as perhaps they should be so far into the tour.

Verging on pantomime with actors tearing down the fourth wall, each player works hard to bring these popular comic-like characters to life.

These wonderfully colourful personalities are likeable young things from Lewis Cornay’s sublimely silly SpongeBob to Divina De Campo’s devilish and dastardly Sheldon. Irfan Damani’s Patrick Star is also perfectly pitched. Where this show succeeds is in the overall look of the piece. Steve Howell’s fabulous set design is a feast for the eyes and offers a stark reminder of the dangers of plastic materials in our waters. The stage is playpen of aquarium fabulousness with colourful shades that totally slay. The costumes are pretty funky too. The real stars here though are the collective sounds of the ensemble. Yes, the plot is tenuous, bordering on the obscure, but audiences young and old will find this beguiling display of theatrical magic a pure unadulterated joy.Wanting to dislike The SpongeBob Musical, this critic simply could not.

Dazzling and delightful, this surprisingly brilliant musical has all the necessary ingredients to be a sure fire hit.

Runs until 27th May 2023, before continuing on tour.

The Reviews Hub Score

Surprisingly brilliant

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The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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