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Review: The SpongeBob Musical, Wales Millennium Centre (WMC), Cardiff

The pineapple under the sea has officially arrived in Cardiff.

The Donald Gordon theatre has been transformed into an underwater realm this week, when The SpongeBob Musical hit the stage for the first leg of its UK and Ireland tour.

Lewis Cornay ‘SpongeBob’. Photo credit: Mark Senior

Reimagined from the hit Nickelodeon series, which first aired in 1999, the show sees 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, which they do to the tune of some incredibly catchy songs, of course.

Gareth Gates as Squidward. Photo credit: Jules Annan

Starring Pop Idol star Gareth Gates and Ru-Paul’s Drag Race legend Davina De Campo, The SpongeBob musical pegs itself as the must-see musical of 2023, and it didn’t disappoint.

Written by Kyle Jarrow, the musical introduces the audience to the world of Bikini Bottom and all its inhabitants with ease, so even those with no knowledge of the tv series will be immersed and invested in their plight straight away. With gags for both the older and younger members of the crowd, there was laughter from all corners of the theatre.

The clever costume design allowed SpongeBob (Lewis Cornay) to look very sponge-esque, and Patrick (Ifran Damani) remarkably like a starfish, without the need for any distracting character suits.

Audience members will be thrilled to hear a wave of original songs by music legends Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, to name a few. You’ll be hard pressed not to hear a rendition or two of ‘Bikini Bottom Boogie’ or ‘Super Sea Star Saviour’ by other theatre goers as you make your way out of the WMC.

Davina De Campo ‘Plankton’ and Company. Photo credit: Mark Senior

Davina De Campo’s performance of ‘When the Going Gets Tough’, written by T.I, was a particular crowd-pleasing highlight, as was ‘Bikini Bottom Day’ which brought the main characters together for this toe-tapper.

Aimed at children over 5, the crowd was a real mix of young and old. There were some clearly hardcore SpongeBob fans, but equally as many with no knowledge of the hit show’s premise, looking slightly perplexed at first, but leaving with smiles from ear to ear.

A feast for the eyes and the ears, SpongeBob most definitely proved that he isn’t just a simple sponge after all.

With tickets starting at just £12, you won’t have to shell out too much to treat the family to a show that is set to have them hooked, and if anything like my six-year-old son, grinning and singing all the way home.

The SpongeBob Musial will be at the Wales Millennium Centre until 10th June. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here: https://www.wmc.org.uk/en/whats-on/2023/spongebob#