Hell in a Handbag Productions at Mary’s Attic through Nov. 4.
Skooby Don’t is a loving parody of the 70’s cartoon Scooby Doo. Anyone familiar with the original cartoon series or its revival as Scooby Doo Mystery Inc. or the live action film will enjoy this loving send up of the youthful sleuths and their dog, as they solve spooky and eerie mysteries. All the elements of the production the minimal set, costumes and sound design all both call to mind the original carton and delightfully support this wacky loving parody.
At the top of the show we meet up with our youthful sleuths as they’ve “solved” a mystery and unveil the mummy who it turns out is the care taker. We also find that all is not well with the crew tensions run high between Velva (brainy Berniecrat feminist) and Daffy (Stereotyped female seeking to break out of her damsel roll) and Fredd (dapper hunk and of course gay) Scaggy (pothead) and his dog Skooby (a man in a dog suit who identifies as a dog). Each character is caught between a desire to be recognized for who they are and the stereotypes in which they are caught in but also on some level identify.
David Cerda’s script takes advantage that in the original show our youthful sleuths tended to banter about things unrelated to the mystery being solved. And as on occasion occurred original cartoon a wealthy and eccentric relative is at the center of this mystery. Cher, played by Ed Jones, the eccentric aunt of Vulva. The banter throughout is about sexual and gender and human identity. Cerda explores the edges of the cultural embrace of various forms of gender and sexual identity even as there is push back against these identities. This banter is punctuated by our crew being chased and with characters being kidnapped, by the scary monster haunting Cher’s hotel. The necessarily minimal set invokes the style of the cartoon, and Kate Setzer Kamphausen costumes reproduce in delightful detail of the characters. Kallie Noelle Rolison’s sound design is excellent complete with canned laugh track of the original show.
If you are familiar with any of the iterations of Scooby do and especially if you grew up with the original cartoon series this loving parody will not disappoint. And it will answer all those questions you had about the gender and sexual tension within the crew (or fit your suspicions). Cerda’s script brings out that even as we seek to best identify ourselves in various and possibly outlandish ways we remain something of a mystery that may have an obvious answer hidden under a costume. Or maybe the unveiled monster is just as eerie and a little more frightening.
But really it is a fun romp through a cultural icon and our attempts to identify ourselves and understand gender and sexuality as a culture. And if you think how is this Halloween, the ending brings into the humor and fun an eerie and ghoulish conclusion. It’s difficult to sum up this show, but it is something to be experienced. Go see Skooby Don’t; you won’t be disappointed.