Who doesn’t love SPONGEBOB SquarePants?! So when we were invited along to THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL we just had to say yes!
We went along to see it at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, a leading London venue, showcasing world-class talks, gigs, dance, performance and classical music. Our tickets were complimentary but thoughts are honest and my own.
About THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL
In my honest opinion The SpongeBob Musical is a must for any SpongeBob fan! It was so on-point for so many iconic SpongeBobisms throughout the show. Especially for those who have watched the series by Stephen Hillenburg and read the book by Kyle Jarrow, on which it is based.
The SpongeBob Characters
It features all the favourite SpongeBob characters who are ever so recognisable!!! If it isn’t by their fantastic costumes (Costume Designer Sarah Mercade; Costume and Wig Supervisor Megan Rarity)- especially SpongeBob, Lewis Cornay, in his yellow shirt, red tie, brown shorts and glasses; Sandy Cheeks (Chrissie Bhima) in her iconic space suit, or the little Sheldon J. Plankton (Ru-Paul’s Drag Race legend Divina DeCampo) on the bottom of the actor’s leg! Not forgetting Squidward’s (Alternating Gareth Gates and Celebs Go Dating Star Tom Read Wilson*) 6 legs! Although, Squidward could have done with a bigger nose!
Then it will be the true to character voices, particularly Karen Plankton, Hannah Lowther and Mrs Puff’s! (Eloise Davies), but also the Narrator with the French accent and Gary the snail!).
Or it will be their expressions and mannerisms notably Squidward and Patrick’s, Irfan Damani).
Finally it will even be the sound effects they make (Sound Designer Ben Harrison), such as Mr. Krab’s (Richard J Hunt), Pearl Krab’s (Sarah Freer) and Squidward’s walking.
SpongeBob Musical Voice Effects
There are several ways that the actors speak that are very SpongeBob. I am not really sure how to describe some of them, but when you hear them you will just know that they are from SpongeBob. For example, long sounds, sounds that are travelling though space, and SpongeBob shouting “I’m not finished yet” (for a long time)!
Also you will recognise not only the Narrator’s voice, but the things he says. Such as things about time:
“The Next Day”
“One hour later” (and so on)
“Later that night”
Also represented with a sun and moon on a stick.
Other Nods to SpongeBob Fans
In fact true fans will recall that there was a volcanic eruption in Sponge-Cano an episode in series 7. Of course in the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie he expects to be promoted to manager of The Krusty Krab but isn’t.
The Characters in The SpongeBob Musical
Each of the characters are true to their origins and portrayed well. This also includes their relationships with each other. Sandy is very scientific and going to help everyone; Patrick is lazy and has no brain; Krabs is only interested in money.
Another nod to SpongeBob fans are the lines pointing out that Sandy Cheeks is from Texas. That also she is a land mammal (although though was no helmet to help her breathe) and how she sometimes feels a bit of an outsider.
In addition, I did like how Pearl questions how she’s related to her dad seeing as they are a different species!
I don’t think there was a single character missed out – they even had the Jellyfish!
Before the story begins, SpongeBob’s number one fan, the Pirate (Sam Beveridge and also Electric Skates), comes out on stage. He is going to record the musical on his phone to make a “pirate” copy! Guards come out to stop all that – whilst really reinforcing to the audience that they do not want to see any mobile phones or recording devices!!
SpongeBob Musical Story
Citizens of Bikini Bottom discover that a volcano will soon erupt and destroy their humble home. The Mayor (Rebecca Lisewski) advises them to stay indoors – just like when the world was affected by Covid-19 and we had lockdowns.
Of course, just like the pandemic, different people have other ideas – and not everyone has the best intentions. There is suggestive acting about how no-one trusts the Government and it says 10 Drowning Street – as well as someone running across holding onto loads of toilet rolls!
Of course you have Mr.Krabs trying to make money by emphasising the fact that you could buy your last ever Krabby Patty! Meanwhile Plankton is trying to hypnotise everyone so that they will think that Chumville is the best place ever! Although, not really much about him stealing the secret formula.
Meanwhile, Patrick finds himself appointed the leader of a cult of sardines, they hang on to his every word believing him to be a saviour from the volcano and testing his relationship with SpongeBob!
SpongeBob and his friends however, do come together however, to try to save the fate of their undersea world! With lives hanging in the balance and all hope lost, a most unexpected hero rises up. The power of optimism really can save the world!
How it Made a Good Musical
Of course, as you would expect the things that make up a fantastic musical were all there. Magical choreography – including backflips and tap dancing. Regular readers will also know that I am always impressed to see dancing in heels and there was plenty of that!
One of my favourites was dancing to a Simple Sponge – where the cast are all in black, apart from SpongeBob – so that the sponges they are holding look like they are moving on their own to form different shapes and patterns.
Dazzling costumes! I have mentioned about how they made the characters recognisable but also it was just flawless how flawless costume changes were. I liked how the musicians were dressed in character and in view, sometimes they came out as part of the story. It was also clear that several costumes were made utilising recycled materials too.
The make-up department also added greatly to the characters’ looks.
The Set, Music and Effects
Talking of recycled materials a lot of the scenery utilised recycled bottles and bags too – most notably the volcano itself. This also brings me on to the spectacular way light was used – including up the volcano to make it look hot – with “smoke” too. The bubbles being released over the audience was also a nice touch.
The set was great – utilising a good many theatrical techniques – we really liked the way they utilised the television screen – as a television for the news; listing fishy musical acts (like the Spice Gills); The Krusty Krab/Chum Bucket – and much more!
Of course, as it was a musical, it goes without saying but the singing and songs were fantastic!
The SpongeBob Musical is recommended for those ages 6+. It is family friendly with just the odd innuendo. Things such as saying that nothing rhymes with (Patrick’s) rock – with a picture of a cockerel in the background; and Plankton getting Karen to call him “Big Boy!” Of course there’s also the iconic dolphin sound effects to censor fake profanities!
THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL STARS
THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL Stars are also joined by Farirayi Garaba (Swing/Ensemble), Jeremiah Olaleye (Electric Skates / Ensemble), Theo Reece (Larry the Lobster), Eleanor Turiansky Electric Skates/ Ensemble), Rhys Batten (Captain/Swing)and Reece Kerridge (Ensemble). Casting Director Harry Blumenau Casting and Selladoor Worldwide General Management
Featuring original songs by 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 and T.I. and songs by David Bowie, Tom Kenny and Andy Paley. Additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton. Additional music by Tom Kitt. Musical production conceived by Tina Landau. Musical Supervisor Mark Crossland, Musical Director Marcus Carter-Adams.
- Directed by Tara Overfield Wilkinson
- Choreographer Fabian Aloise, Associate Choreographer Paris Green
- Designer Steve Howell
- Lighting and Video Designer Ben Bull,
The Queen Elizabeth Hall has the following access information:
- There is an accessible toilet
- There is a Changing Places toilet – with a height-adjustable bench, tracking hoist system, a centrally-placed toilet, a height-adjustable basin and shower.
- Step-Free Access is available, as are wheelchair spaces
- Help for those who cannot queue, or those who need extra time to take their seat.
- There is a Relaxed Performance on Wednesday 16th August 2pm.
- There is a British Sign Language Interpreted Performance on Saturday 19th August 2pm
- Audio Description is available during the performance on Saturday 26th August at 2pm.
The SpongeBob Musical at Queen Elizabeth Hall Information
- Open 90 minutes before the Event
- No bags over 40x25x25cm
- Running time 150 minutes (including the interval)
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
* Tom Read Wilson plays the role of Squidward on 3, 5, 6, 12, 13, 18, 19 & 20 August. Gareth Gates on 23-27 August. Further dates to be announced. Subject to change. The appearance of any named performer cannot be guaranteed.
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