Revisiting a childhood favorite at Rarely Done Productions

Velma, played by Gennaro Parlato, in "Spooky Dog and the Teen-Age Gang Mysteries.' Photo: Rarely Done Productions

Velma, played by Gennaro Parlato, in “Spooky Dog and the Teen-Age Gang Mysteries.’
Photo: Rarely Done Productions

Spooky Dog and the Teen-Age Gang Mysteries  
Who Rarely Done Productions
Where 441 E. Washington St., Syracuse
When Through Feb. 23
Tickets $20
Review by Josh Austin 

Did Scooby-Doo, sorry, Spooky Dog just light a joint? Is that Velma—Thelma—in drag? What did “Ted” just shove in his pants?

For any cartoon-loving adult who has fond memories of “Scooby-Doo,” prepare to have the wonderful memories of Saturday morning crushed, no manhandled. In Rarely Done Production’s showing of Spooky Dog and The Teen-Age Gang Mysteries, it’s no longer about the caretaker and why he did it, it’s about who’s got the best bud and who’s trying to sleep with whom.

In the words of Thelma, “Jinkies!”

Although “jinkies” isn’t the only nostalgic word thrown out during the show—we also hear “jeepers” and the classic “zoinks”—it’s easy to get lost in those fun little adjectives describing the mystery looming around the gang. It’s not until “holy fucking shit” is shouted out that you remember this isn’t the classic cartoon, and yes indeed, this is Rarely Done Productions.

Part of RDP’s “Fat Chance” series, the hour-long show isn’t too serious, if you can call it that at all. It’s a show riddled in campy jokes, innuendo, hormones and the munchies. Ted wants Tiffany, Thelma wants Tiffany, Tiffany wants Ted (maybe), and Spooky and Scraggly (the not-so-far-off alter ego of “Shaggy”) want weed, and a snack.

It wouldn’t be fitting to talk about the lack of seriousness in the script, as it’s not there—thankfully. There’s no arc for the actors to discover, no serious journey for the audience to embark on with the characters; it’s just a fun, clownish take on what the kid in everyone grew up to try when they were teens. And luckily the cast and director (Dan Tursi) realize this.

Each cast member, for the most part, accurately represents the notion of what the innocent characters from the cartoon would look and sound like if they were all trying to hump each other. Scraggly, played by a stoner-esque Josh Taylor, sounds like Scraggly should, as does Spooky, delivered in a Scooby-Doo reminiscent costume by Billy Sweeney.

The cast of 'Spooky Dog and the Teen-Age Gang Mysteries.' Photo: Rarely Done Productions

The cast of ‘Spooky Dog and the Teen-Age Gang Mysteries.’
Photo: Rarely Done Productions

Ted, the hunky, maybe distant cousin of Fred, played by Derek Potocki, still has all the American boy-next-door charm, except he’s a boy who is deep into puberty and constantly thrusting his junk in any direction. Tiffany, (the doppelganger of Daphne, played by a vibrant Rita Worlock), is still sweet—just not as sharp-witted and a subtle tendency to be promiscuous.

It’s Thelma that really captures the show, though. Played by Gennaro Parlato, Thelma is annoying, book smart and, possibly, bisexual. Parlato gives a hilarious performance as the in-drag crime buster with a flare for the feminine physique.

Complemented with the colorful, psychedelic set, designed by Ty Marshal and CJ Young, Spooky Dog really does swing back to the ‘60s. The modest scenery—much like the simple script—is helpfully imagined by the creative and hilarious cast, which makes revisiting a punched up version of the favorite cartoon dog totally worth it.

Although far from the cartoon, it’s a nice ending to hear “And I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for…”

Never mind that the mystery took a happy backseat to Mary Jane and teenage hormones.

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