Reviewed by Rebecca Banasko
I visited The Lowry in Salford Quays, Manchester (28 May 2017) to watch Sponge with my 2½ year old daughter. I always enjoy visiting this venue as the location so easy to get to, there’s so much to do around the theatre and the staff couldn’t be more helpful and friendly.
Upon arrival at the Studio where we were to see the show, we were informed that we would all have to remove our shoes and socks (shoes only for the adults) and we were to sit on the blue mats when we went in. The mats were arranged in a semi-circle around the staging area and we were almost immediately greeted with the sounds of dripping water as everyone got settled followed by the sight of one of the performers desperately trying to catch the drips with numerous and randomly arranged buckets. I could see my daughter’s attention was immediately captured but it, I could also see that she seemed really bemused and didn’t quite know what to make of it.
Our rather focussed friend was soon joined by a rather mischievous and fun young lady who moved the buckets and found alternative fun uses for them, much to his frustration. The pace soon picked up with a great 70’s soundtrack, as the sponges were introduced and the children excitedly grabbed them and imitated the performers in throwing them about. My daughter was so happy to have 3 which she clung to tightly as she watched the performance unravel.
They were joined by some further spongy looking creatures that were great to watch and fascinated the children. The two performers interacted with the children who were happy to join them in knocking down some sponge towers and dancing away to the music.
After the performance, the audience were invited up for some free play with, the now hundreds of, sponges. The children absolutely love it as they threw them about, built towers, knocked them down, climbed into buckets full of sponges, balanced them on their heads, walked on them and whatever else their imaginations led them to. It was a lot of fun, even the grown-ups seemed to really enjoy it. It was a lovely sight. Who knew that sponges were that much fun!
The show lasted approximately 60 minutes, including the 15 minutes free play time at the end. The timing was spot on as the children’s attention was held throughout, which was quite astounding for such a young audience. The energy and enthusiasm of both performers was contagious and you could see the children couldn’t wait to join in. They read the children really well, encouraging them to join in when they could see they were happy to do so and moving on when they could see that it wasn’t right for that child at that time. If you have a little person younger than 4 then I’d really recommend Sponge as a fun interactive experience for you to enjoy together. It really does capture their attention and imagination. It was simple, soft, squashy, springy fun perfect for babies and toddlers alike.
For other shows at The Lowry visit www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000