Since their show premiered in 1969, Scooby-Doo and his faithful human companions Shaggy, Thelma, Daphne, and Fred have proved amazingly resilient, retaining their popularity despite a change of networks in 1976 and the fact that there have been no new shows since 1986. What accounts for this longevity? Beats me. It doesn't hurt that Scooby and his friends, like so many other Hanna-Barbera creations, are fully realized, well-rounded comic characters. (Hanna-Barbera compensated for notoriously cheap corner-cutting animation with good writing.) As a result, the strong relationship between Scooby and his goofy, perhaps stoned human sidekick Shaggy is comic gold that easily survives the leap from cartoon to stage: the temperature of this children's show jumps every time these two enter. It helps that the actors playing them work hard to capture the look and feel of the on-screen relationship. Bjorn Thorstad goes so far as to re-create Shaggy's sometimes jerky movements, and Pierre-Marc Diennet has Scooby's language--a collection of whines, mutters, and poorly pronounced words--down cold. He does Scooby so well, in fact, that when he and Shaggy stepped into the auditorium for one scene, the audience erupted in a small riot. The people packaging this show argue that Scooby-Doo appeals to both adults and children, but the stage version is mostly for kids. Grown-ups might appreciate the audience's hysterical reactions as camp, however. Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont, 312-559-1212. Through February 17: Thursdays-Fridays, 7:30 PM; Saturdays, 1, 4, and 7:30 PM; Sundays, 1 and 4 PM. $15-$29.50.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Joan Marcus.