REVIEW: SpongeBob SquarePants makes a splash at the Mayflower

For fans of SpongeBob SquarePants, this musical is absorbing stuff.

You had to only count the number of youngsters rocking in their seats at the Mayflower to see it's a splash hit.

His annoying, squeaky voice might grate with parents, but SpongeBob will always be a hero to those who have grown up weaned on Nickelodeon.

To be fair, Chris Coxon is a superstar as SpongeBob in the new musical The Sponge Who Could Fly.

Yes he's got the squeaky voice off to perfection. Yes he's got a monumental range of funny faces. And yes he can move his arms and legs like they're lengths of string.

In fact he's so good you're left to wonder how hard Coxon must find it stepping out of character.

As the title suggests, the plot is all about SpongeBob's desire to fly with the jellyfish.

Our hero insists: "It's a sad day on Bikini Bottom Beach when a man gets ridiculed for having a dream."

And so, thanks to a handily-placed hairdryer, his dream comes true and soon we're treated to a guitar-playing, surfboard riding SpongeBob gliding through the air.

But sometimes dreams can turn into a nightmare and when SpongeBob is asked to clean pigeon poop from the crow's nest of the Flying Dutchman it proves the final straw.

John Fricker is in his element as the simple but lovable Patrick Star, Sarah Crosswell is faultless as the TV reporter, and Charles Brunton has the manic-depressive Squidward off to a tee.

There are some nice messages for children to heed in this production, and full marks to costume designer Mirenda Rada and her team for some amazing outfits which help to light up the stage.

Until Saturday…

John Carter