Theatre review: The SpongeBob Musical at Norwich Theatre Royal

Theatre review: The SpongeBob Musical at Norwich Theatre Royal

AD | Press tickets

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?! SpongeBob Square Pants! The SpongeBob musical has come to Norwich Theatre Royal this week and I got to watch the show on opening night. Read on to find out what I thought.

8. THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL. The Company. Photo Mark Senior
Photo Mark Senior

When the citizens of Bikini Bottom discover that a volcano will soon erupt and destroy their humble home, SpongeBob and his friends must come together to save the fate of their undersea world!

Starring Pop Idol and musical superstar Gareth Gates and Ru-Paul’s Drag Race legend Divina De Campo, THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL is written by Kyle Jarrow and conceived by Tina Landau and features a tidal wave of original songs by the world’s most iconic rock and pop artists, including 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.

The SpongeBob Musical is a hilarious deep-sea pearl of a show that is set to make a splash with audiences young and old as the must-see musical of 2023.

2. THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL. Irfan Damani 'Patrick', Tom Read Wilson 'Squidward' and Lewis Cornay 'SpongeBob'. Photo Mark Senior
Photo Mark Senior

Did we enjoy it?

John and I went to see The SpongeBob Musical on opening night with press tickets, so we actually went without Erin. You might think it a bit strange to see what seems to be a family show without any children, but we weren’t the only ones! The SpongeBob Musical is definitely not just for kids.

4. THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL. Richard J Hunt 'Mr Krabs'. Photo Mark Senior
Photo Mark Senior

With songs written by artists such as Cyndi Lauper, John Leggett, T.I. and Steven Tyler, you’d expect the soundtrack for The SpongeBob Musical to be exceptional… and it is! There’s drama, feeling, and happiness, all rolled into this soundtrack. Bikini Bottom Day was the perfect way to start the show and really got me ready for such a fun-filled show.

Bringing the show to life is a bright, colourful and fun set. In Bikini Bottom you’ll find a whole host of wonderful sea creatures, including Eugene Krabs and his sparkly red gloves! The curtains look like waves, there are glow-in-the-dark bubbles and a huge collection of colourful wigs. The set is very simple but with the addition of Chum Bucket, the Krusty Krab and SpongeBob’s home, you’ll feel like you belong in Bikini Bottom.

I can’t go without mentioning Lewis Cornay, which plays the titular character, SpongeBob. If you’ve ever seen the cartoon, you’ll really appreciate what Cornay brings to the role. There are little mannerisms and the actions that really make him into SpongeBob. The voice, the body language… everything is there!

Stealing the show for me was Divina De Campo as Sheldon J. Plankton. As a big Drag Race fan, I was really looking forward to seeing her on stage and she did not disappoint at all. From the minute Divina opened her mouth to sing, I was blown away. Her character, Plankton, would fit perfectly in a panto and she played the villain perfectly.

If you’ve come to see Gareth Gates you won’t be disappointed. He’s wonderful as Squidward Q Tentacles and nails that slightly awkward, grumpy old man vibe perfectly. With squeaky feet and extra legs, Squidward is a fun character but gets his big scene in act 2, which is well worth the wait!

5. THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL. Hannah Lowther 'Karen the Computer' and Divina de Campo 'Plankton'. Photo Mark Senior
Photo Mark Senior

As for the story, it’s such a fun one to watch. The last few things we’ve seen have been quite serious (Blood Brothers and Julius Caesar) so this was a very welcome change.

Bikini Bottom is under threat by a volcano about to erupt and they must find a way of stopping that from happening. As this is a family show, there’s nothing that’s too scary or worrying and there’s more fun than anything else. It’s also hugely entertaining for the adults watching too.

I had an absolute blast watching The SpongeBob Musical and left with a huge smile on my face.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.