Review by Jake Goodall
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?! Great ready for pure chaos as you descend to the sea floor in Phoenix Ensemble’s fantastic quirky musical for the whole family: The SpongeBob Musical!
The stakes are high as SpongeBob & all of Bikini Bottom face total annihilation with the impending rupture of Mount Doom, the volcano. Chaos erupts and lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost the most unexpected hero rises up and takes centre stage proving that optimism really can save the world!
The set design by Justin Tubb-Hearne is ingenious from top to bottom! The creative use of pool noodles to signify sea anemones is a stroke of genius. Hanging about the stage are tons of intriguing items that resemble the sea floor such as boots, car rims, rope and many other things. A great tie into the environment showing that trash and litter reaches the seafloor. The shining star of the set is the volcano top, utilising chains and caution tape the audience feels like they are inside the volcano and bubbling to the top.
The lighting design by Liam Gilliland is extremely effective, helping to transport the audience into the undersea world. The imaginative use of rotating gobos is fantastic to create each of the settings such as the volcano and the beach. Jacob Cash’s sound design is wonderful. With family friendly content, the design very much plays into the hard hitting Nickelodeon sound and this really benefits the show.
Special mention to Rachael King, Ren Gerry and Benjamin Tubb Hearne for the fantastic prop creations used throughout the entire production; such as a beautiful blue box with shining light inside showing the exploder.
Phoenix Ensemble’s rendition of The SpongeBob Musical is directed by Benjamin Tubb-Hearne, supported by Hayley Marsh as Musical Director and Julianne Clinch as Choreographer. Tubb-Hearne’s direction is clever and extremely engaging. It is evident that Tubb-Hearne worked extremely hard with the actors on their movements and vocals to ensure they could portray the characters with style and pizzaz!
Marsh’s work as Musical Director and Foley Artist is phenomenal. The vocals throughout the show are pitch perfect, even as the actors sing in the voices of the iconic characters. An added addition is watching Marsh being the live Foley Artist which really adds a different element to this show that isn’t usually seen.
Choreography by Clinch is simple yet effective, seeing a cast of over 20 all dancing together is truly a spectacle to see on a community stage. The movements are all setting appropriate and we can truly envision the cast as the undersea characters as they dance.
The cast can clearly be seen enjoying these songs written by legends such as David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Panic at the Disco! and many more! Opening the star studded line up is Clark Kent Bryon-Moss in the titular role of SpongeBob Squarepants. Bryon-Moss’s infectious and (at times) overpowering enthusiasm is enough to make anyone happy! His effortless vocals really lifts as the show goes on; special mention to his insanely high jumps which are just insane!
Opposite Bryon-Moss is Harley Roy as Patrick Star. Roy is a fantastic actor and the perfect casting for Patrick. His attention to every gesture and facial emotion is incredible; down to the smallest
Just down the road from the Rock & The Pineapple is the Easter Island head that houses Squidward Q. Tentacles played by Zach Price. Price hails from the Griffith Conservatorium and the expertise in his performance of this classy and snobby character shows. Ebony Banks plays the Fish out of Water (but in the water!) Sandy Cheeks. Sandy Cheeks’ intelligence and optimism shines through in Banks’ performance.
Rounding out this cast is Tristan Ham as Eugene H. Krabs, Genevieve Tree as Pearl Krabs, Daniel Lelic as Perch Perkins, Alysha Zara as The Mayor, Nicholas Joy as Patchy the Pirate, Sam Hocking as Old Man Jenkins, Aaron Anderson as Larry the Lobster, Adam Goodall as Lead Electric Skate, Tea Gross as Mrs Puff, Aidan Cobb as Buster Blutang and an ensemble including Angelina Mustafay, Maegan Weir, Bethany Nairn, Ronan Mason, Fran Wright, Louisa Laing & Mark Rickell. All of these amazing cast members contribute to this fantastic production.
A fantastic moment is when we see the full cast dressed in pink hoodies dancing around as sardines. It is both hilarious and perfect at the same time. Perfect direction and perfect ensemble work. BRAVO!
Within this fantastic cast the two stand out performers of the night are undoubtedly Joshua Moore as Sheldon J. Plankton and Kristen Barros as Karen the Computer. They are the perfect villains in this story and the audience loves to hate them. Moore is over the top melodramatic which lifts the entire performance. Opposite them Barros’s Karen is blank and stark until the end when.. well.. Birds & the bees kids!
This family friendly production is perfect for children and adults of any age! Everyone will find something to love in this show.
The SpongeBob Musical runs at Phoenix Ensemble’s Tin Shed until August 27th. And with tickets nearly sold out you must get in quick!
All that’s left to say is BRAVO!