Scooby Doo in Stagefright

CAROLINE CULOT Norwich Theatre Royal

CAROLINE CULOT

> Norwich Theatre Royal

Children were out on the town last night packing out the Norwich Theatre Royal – and on a Monday school night, too.

Yes, youngsters ranging from just a few years to young teens well outnumbered the adults last night making it feel more like a Saturday matinee than a first night – and proof of course that Scooby mania lives on.

But whether you were six or 36, last night's show proved there is life for Scooby Doo after the long-running cartoon series and two major movies.

In what is its first UK tour, this show comes with the Warner Bros backing so you know it is going to be spot-on because it has to be.

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I went along wondering just how a bunch of actors could pull it off in a stage setting – but came away marvelling that they had truly brought the cartoon to life.

The main characters, Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred, look as if they have stepped straight out of the cartoon and they drive a real-life Mystery Machine.

Richard Lynson in particular had got the voice and mannerisms of Shaggy absolutely right and is far superior to the Shaggy in the Hollywood movies.

This show is not about impersonation, however, but about recreating the magic of the cartoon.

It's the mix of slapstick, of Shaggy jumping into Scooby's arms when a ghoul appears, and the familiar plot with its happy ending which we love. And we were given all that and more last night.

There's a particularly good scene involving several doors with the characters going in and out, and Scooby and Shaggy popping up in various costumes, which is hilarious. But somehow the show was not too big, not too ambitious and retained the essence of the series.

While really young children won't keep up with the storyline, there are not any really scary bits, but it's all slapstick with panto-style baddies. In fact it's a great family show.

Some may say this show was a gamble, but it has paid off, Scooby snacks and all.

t Scooby Doo continues until February 26. Ring the box office on 01603 630000 for tickets.

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