If I were to tell you that I am reviewing a show that features themes of xenophobia, misinformation, cult worship, and rampant capitalism then you would probably think that this is some sort of new stage play hitting Broadway. However, that is not the case. This is The SpongeBob Musical produced by the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. This show is a rocking fun time from start to finish and keeps the laughs and applause coming from the first note to the last. The SpongeBob Musical (Youth Version) is a great time if you are 4 or 94.
The Plot of TCT’s SpongeBob Musical
Based on the beloved animated series created by Stephen Hillenburg, the show itself has a fairly straight forward story. The beloved home town of SpongeBob Squarepants, Bikini Bottom, is under threat from a volcano that is going to erupt and destroy the whole town. It is up to SpongeBob and his friends to thwart this evil volcano from destroying all that they hold near and dear. From there the show tells this story with colorful, fun, and imaginative musical numbers that are perfect for all ages.
One of the beauties of The SpongeBob Musical is that it never once assumes that the primarily kid centric audience is lacking intelligence. A lot of children’s media nowadays can almost be boiled down to funny thing happened, kids laugh, rinse and repeat (the tv/movie version of jangling keys in front of a kids face). This show however assumes that kids can follow a semi-complex plot, will be able to understand the various issues that face our real world today, and can still have a fun and enjoyable time.
Amazing Professional Adult Performers
All of the actors stand out in their own amazing way, and bring their own spin to these well known and beloved characters. Whether it is Josh Galloway as the eponymous yellow sponge, Bob Herzog as the maniacal Plankton, or even Kristen Das as the belting boy band obsessed Pearl, they all bring some of that theatre magic to these animated personas. The real stand out for me is Henry Howland as Squidward, the perpetually grouchy neighbor of SpongeBob and Patrick. His take on the character is so much fun to see and is such a delight every time he is on stage. Not to mention Howland is sporting not just one set of legs, but a second set attached to his back, and even, and I can’t believe it when I type this out, tap dances flawlessly while literally having two left feet.
The production design is another highlight of the show as the set feels so alive and real. Nate Bertone’s scenic design is full of unique takes on the undersea biome of Bikini Bottom, keeping in line with the animated shows colorful 60’s floral aesthetic while adding his own touches of fun. The best part of the show set-wise is the volcano, comprised of human trash from street signs, black bags of garbage, and smoking oil drums of lava.
Overall a Delight
TCT’s SpongeBob Musical is a delight for all ages. There is humor for the kids, humor for the adults, and everyone in between.
Tickets to TCT’s SpongeBob
The show has performances on October 14, 15th, 20th-22nd at the Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati. Tickets can be found at this link: https://thechildrenstheatre.com/shows/the-spongebob-musical/. Go and support this amazing cast, bring the kids, grandkids, or anyone else who just loves SpongeBob. Run time:68 minutes.