Bringing favourite cartoon characters to life isn’t always easy, as a considerable number of film releases have proved over the years. It’s especially difficult to recreate much-loved animated characters on stage.
But zoinks! The cast and crew of Scooby Doo: The Mystery of the Pyramid deserve 50 Scooby snacks each for their enjoyable and brilliantly executed show, currently on tour and with much to appeal to kids and adults alike.
From the opening there are catchy songs, jokes a-plenty, a barrel-load of fun, some knowing nods to the TV series, and some truly amazing performances bringing the Mystery Inc team to three-dimensional life in a way that will please Scooby buffs and newbies alike.
The plot barely matters though it has a definite feel of a classic TV episode as the gang are called to Egypt by their dashing and hunky archaeologist friend Otto (a smooth and lively performance from Douglas Walker) to help solve the mystery of the lost treasure in a pyramid, hindered by a band of villainous mummies with a penchant for breaking into some well-choreographed dance.
If you’re hoping for trademark situations such as Velma losing her glasses, Freddie’s bizarre plans, Scooby’s titter, and the unmasked villain’s cry of, “I’d have gotten away with it too had it not been for you meddling kids....” you will not be disappointed.
The narrative is never too much nor the songs too long in this show, which manages to blend Enid Blyton-style adventuring, the finest panto tricks, and fairly classy musical effortlessly under the guidance of director Paul Mills.
Jeepers! The central cast deserve gold medals (an extra sport in the Commonwealth Games, surely, to perform what could all too easily be a bland and simple-to-stage family entertainment) for perfect portrayals of the Mystery Machine crew.
Josh Little is excellent as the rather vain and athletic team-leader Fred; local girl Julia Cave is super as Daphne, complete with her caseloads of make-up and hairspray; and Louise Wright a dead ringer for the clever and sometimes smug Velma.
Danny Stokes as Shaggy and Eddie Arnold as Scooby Doo come close to stealing the show. Study Stokes carefully to see how masterfully he captures the character of Shaggy – from the instantly recognisable voice (a real tribute to the late Casey Kasem, who provided the original voice in the TV series) to the slouching walk. It is a gem of impersonation and comic timing, yet he also adds nice little touches of his own.
This is truly a summertime treat for all ages – packed with imagination, enchantment, interaction, fun, and the sort of quality performances you would more normally expect to find in a top West End show.