8-11 May 2014
Reviewed by Philippa Plater
I’m always sceptical of television shows that attempt a stage version. So when I saw that Scooby Doo Live was coming to my local theatre, I was wondering how they could possible translate a kitsch iconic 70s cartoon to the stage; on Friday I took my 7 year old daughter to find out.
Scooby-Doo! Mystery of the Pyramid is touring the UK until the end of August 2014, this weekend they have been playing at the Royal and Derngate in Northampton. The theatre is the joining of the old ‘Royal’ theatre and the more modern ‘Derngate’ theatre. It has an enormous modern welcoming entrance with a café and bar – we had sandwiches and chips before going in which were lovely. The ticketing staff we incredibly helpful and courteous. Parking was easy as we were after 6pm and there are plenty of single yellow lines on which to park.
So on to the show… I admit I was still wondering how they could pull this off! When we got to our seats they were playing child friendly music – The Macarena and Gangnam Style! – the kids were already dancing in their seats and singing along. The show opens with the theme tune to the TV show and the characters of Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Thelma, Fred and Daphne bound onto the stage dancing and OMG they looked exactly like their television counterparts – pretty impressive! And then they started talking and OMG they SOUNDED EXACTLY like their television counterparts!!! A special mention to Shaggy who couldn’t have sounded or looked any more like Shaggy if he’d tried!! (After the show Imogen was surprised when I told her that it was the actors talking live and that the actors weren’t miming to the ‘actual TV voices’).
The premise of the show was that the gang were in Egypt to meet Otto, where they must solve the mystery of Pharaoh Hatchepsout’s Pyramid. Legend has it that the pharaoh was buried with treasure that has never been uncovered but those who try to find it are turned into stone. There were also a couple of other characters introduced as friends of Otto’s. The storyline was a bit complicated and rather wordy at points, with lots of actors talking to take up parts of the story – Imogen did have to ask me what was going on but after a quick explanation she got it!
The show is full of fantastic music, there was even one character who didn’t talk but only sang – which was very funny. In particular, the ‘Otto’ song was amazingly catchy and all the children joined in with the singing and actions. All of the characters engaged very well with the audience and encouraged the children to clap and join in. There was also great dancing throughout and some impressive breakdance moves by a couple of characters.
The cast used the stage well and even came out into the audience; once when they were singing the Otto song with Otto ‘high 5-ing’ the kids as he sang his song. Then when the story took the cast into the tunnel of the pyramid they used the isle of the theatre and walked through the audience mingling with everyone, which was fantastic for the children to be able to interact.
The lighting was very effective; the use of darkness and strobes added to the mood amazingly well and was used to great comedy effect too. The set was very good, and even though there were only 2 sets – just one set change at the interval – it felt exciting. But in fact the action on the stage was so engaging the set was rather secondary.
The second half was set inside the pyramid and had lots of scenes with the spooky mummies, who I must say were pretty scary with skeleton faces and bandages. There were great ‘they’re behind you’ screams from the children in the audience and also fantastic chase scenes, just like the television programme.
The final scene was the iconic unveiling of the baddies (the mummies) to find out they were Otto’s friends and the classic line ‘…and we would have got away with it, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!!’
So did they pull off the stage show? Seriously yes, and then some!!! It was pure fun, clever effects, engaging songs, great characters, clothing and voices, the children were enthralled throughout. It was scary in parts, funny in other but complete entertainment, I recommend anyone to go!!
A definite 5 out of 5!!
Tickets cost from £15.50 to £20.50 (plus £2.50 transaction fee).
For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01604 624811.
Scooby-Doo Live is touring the UK until the end of August. See it in a theatre near you! For more information and tour dates visit www.scoobydoo-live.com.
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | Box Office 01604 624811