Writers: Gregoire Dey and Remy Caccia
Director: Paul Mills
Reviewer: Nicole Evans
Scooby-Doo has been entertaining young audiences since 1969 when the cartoon first appeared on television screens. After several successful runs, a feature film or two and continuing global success across generations, stage shows were an obvious next step for Warner Bros and Scooby-Doo Live was born. It returns to our stages this year for Scooby-Doo! The Mystery of the Pyramids promising another spooky tale and more Mystery Inc. antics and hosting tonight’s show was Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre.
Giggles, wiggles and flashing lights set the scene in the auditorium as we take our seats; cheesy pop music pumps out and there is an obvious air of excitement from the predominantly under-10 year old audience. It isn’t long before the curtain goes up revealing an Egyptian desert set simply made up of a few tents, an outside toilet and a pyramid backdrop. The modern Scooby-Doo theme tune begins and Mystery Inc. make their grand entrance in the Mystery Machine, closely followed by a larger than life-sized Scooby-Doo himself. The gang soon get down to business and explain they have been called to Egypt to unravel the Mystery of the Pyramids, cue the anticipated entrance of suspicious Egyptologist Otto and a fill-in name spelling song that the majority of the audience don’t really get the point of. After meeting Otto’s helpers Mira and Ben Sief, and hearing a couple more songs the little ones couldn’t really relate to, the gang head off into the pyramids to solve the mystery and end the curse. Act one mostly fails to impress and when your aim is to engage children who would normally be in bed a little more in the way of excitement is needed. The exception to this is the mummy scene which woke everybody up and gets the children shouting, panto style, to wake the gang up.
The action improves considerably after the interval and once the gang enter the pyramid we are treated to the audience participation and fun and games we are expecting from a high profile show of this nature. The kids start to fully engage with the characters and are woken up with some good old comical ‘he’s behind you’ moments and mummy chaos.
The costumes are spot on and the actors capture the well known traits of their characters well. The Scooby-Doo outfit is impressive and Eddie Arnold deserves a mention just for keeping up the amount of stamina required to dance around in it without collapsing in the heat. Julia Cave gives an adequately ditsy performance as Daphne and Louise Wright takes on Velma’s geeky persona and portrays her awkward yet intelligent characteristics effortlessly. Star of the show (no it isn’t Scooby!) is Danny Stokes as Shaggy who could have been plucked straight from the original cartoon. He has the gangliness, the voice and the expressions down to a tee and was by far the most believable character throughout. All in all Scooby-Doo! The Mystery of the Pyramids is worth a watch. There are a few too many adult references and scenes that are lost among the target audience, and it won’t be the most perfectly polished children’s show you’ll ever see, but the gimmick of a ‘real life’ Scooby-Dooby-Doo is enough to keep the kids talking about it afterwards. Don’t forget the Scooby Snacks.
Runs until July 24th.