Thriller Theater Four: Scooby-Doo Meets The Facts of Life | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Thriller Theater Four: Scooby-Doo Meets The Facts of Life

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Thriller Theater Four: Scooby-Doo Meets The Facts of Life, Argos Agency, at ImprovOlympic. Apparently there's a limitless market for live shows that re-create bad television. The house was packed at the opening of this 80s nostalgiafest, in which "those meddling kids and their talking dog" meet up with the girls of Eastland Academy to solve the Mystery of the Headless Headmaster. Although the script rambles at times, writer-director Jason R. Chin has obviously watched his share of reruns: the text is riddled with the bad puns and "Scoobisms" that ran rampant in the TV originals. Chin adds some serious sexual interplay (with all those schoolgirl uniforms, someone's bound to get a boner) and musical numbers lifted right from MTV.

Parody of this kind depends on two things: mimicry of the writing and uncanny character impersonation. Chin does a little better with the former than the latter. Granted, some of the characterizations are dead-on, especially Marc Ovies as Shaggy, Geoff Reed as Scooby, and Sara "Scoot" Champagne as Facts of Life girl Jo. Bobby Hoffman's costumes are uniformly authentic, from the short Eastland skirts to Fred's signature orange scarf. However, occasional inappropriate casting costs Chin some comic opportunities: why cast pretty twentysomething brunette Hillary Shumate as plump fiftysomething red-bouffanted Mrs. Garrett? But despite such careless details, this late-night trick-or-trick musical will no doubt sell lots of beer and keep fans lined up at the door.

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