Fans of geeky stage productions in New York City are in for an absolute treat, as several members of Team StarKid present a brief Off-Broadway run of their Scooby-Doo parody.
Three members of Team StarKid – Joey Richter, Brian Rosenthal, and Corey Lubowich – comprise the Tin Can Bros. The Tin Can Bros are a chance to branch out, as they produce all manner of things instead of just musicals: short films, web series, and now an Off-Broadway play!
But the trio’s StarKid roots are still very apparent in what they do – both the subject matter (parodies) and the humor will be familiar to StarKids who choose to follow this offshoot. Two years ago, they impressed with Spies are Forever, a gorgeous musical that’s as good as anything Team StarKid’s produced. So we didn’t hesitate to buy a ticket to check out The Solve-It Squad.
The Solve-It Squad is a parody of one of the most iconic cartoons ever, Scooby-Doo. In an unusual move, it’s not a musical, but a straight play (with a Solve-It Squad theme song to open and close the show). Full disclosure: this writer was never a fan of Scooby-Doo, but attended the show with four big fans of the cartoon.
Impressively, the show works on both levels. I could appreciate the humor and the story on its own, but my friends waxed rhapsodic about all the clever homages included in the show. And even I’ve seen enough footage of the cartoon peripherally to appreciate the spot-on visual gags present in the stage production: those hoping for a chase scene will be nothing short of thrilled.
As is typical for a production with no major financial backing – not even a Kickstarter – the cast is small and keeps busy. Joey Richter likes to point out that this show can fit inside four suitcases, and it’s very impressive just how far they make those four suitcases stretch.
The hardest working member of the cast is Brian Rosenthal, who plays “everyone else” aside from the core four of the Scooby Gang. He is constantly running back and forth to swap out costume accessories and props, affecting goofy accents, and even acting against himself in a comedically frantic scene that had audiences roaring with laughter. Brian Rosenthal deserves an ovation just for not keeling over midway through the show.
As usual, the scene-stealer is Lauren Lopez, playing a caricature of Velma hopped up on enough drugs to kill an elephant. (And before dismissing that creative choice, know that it is explored and there is a good in-universe explanation for it.) Lauren Lopez gets an epic monologue at the end that leaves even her fellow cast mates looking impressed – moreover, her stage chemistry opposite Joey Richter is as fun and natural as it was nine years ago in “Granger Danger.”
Joey Richter is a revelation in The Solve-It Squad, because he plays against type to be the straight man (parodying Shaggy), and lets others take on the comedy. He has perfected the goofy sidekick/goofy villain/goofy whatever character, but here he proves he can excel as a lead and leave the comic relief to the others.
Solve-It Squad has a surprisingly dark premise, leaving Richter’s character full of pain. Richter keeps adding small inflection to his voice that just makes your heart break a little for him, even as you’re laughing at the absurdity of what’s going on. Mid-show, Richter gets to deliver a really harsh diatribe to the other characters, and one could have heard a pin drop in the theater as he hurls hurtful barbs at the rest of the Scooby Gang.
Rounding out the cast are Ashley Clements and Gabe Greenspan as the Daphne/Fred members of the Squad, and they are both a delight to watch. Clements plays her character cartoonishly vapid, whereas Greenspan’s character manages to be appallingly dumb yet sort of sympathetic all at once. Both fit right in among the StarKids, and seem to be having a blast.
The script, when it’s not making the audiences laugh with a very wide breadth of humor, actually has some interesting things to say about adults trying to relive former glory. It’s another excellent project from the Tin Can Bros – if Solve-It Squad and Spies are Forever is indicative of their future oeuvre, we’ll be very impressed indeed. In the meantime, The Solve-It Squad is running all days except Tuesdays at The Barrow Group Theater until May 12. Although the show is available online, there is no replacement for seeing it live in a theater, with an audience of fellow fans laughing with you.
For more information about the show, and to buy tickets, visit the Tin Can Bros’ website.
Incredibles 2 is now breaking records at the box-office. At a recent press conference, the cast and creative team discuss how the film came about.
Ocean’s 8 is a powerhouse of hilarious actors, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that we’ll get a sequel. If Ocean’s 9 happens, who should join the team next?
Netflix seems to be trying to bring back the rom com, and I am more than ready to welcome it back with open arms.
Voltron’s sixth season upped the ante and positioned itself as the best one yet. With so much to digest, we sat down with executive producers Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos to break down the season.
LGBT+ representation in media is important, so this Pride Month pick up a book and go on an adventure in which you see yourself reflected within its pages.
Incredibles 2 brought back all our favorite superheroes and introduced some new ones. We rank all the the superheroes from worst to best.
On June 15, news broke that #LuciFans had been successful with their campaigning, as Netflix picked up Lucifer for a fourth season. The reaction across social media was… jubilant, to say the least.
We’re recapping the Supergirl season 3 finale, “Battles Lost and Won,” in which the fight against Reign and the Dark Kryptonians reaches its climax.
Romance is common in superhero stories, but superheroes are rare in romance. At least I’ve never read one. If there’s a bevy of superhero romance books out there that I’m missing, someone please send me a list.
Kid Lit authors including Rainbow Rowell, Veronica Roth, Melissa de la Cruz, Margaret Stohl raising funds for separated families
Several prominent children’s literature authors are raising money for the families who are being separated at the United States / Mexico border due to the policies of the Donald Trump administration.
Recent Podcast Episodes
Join ReWatchable for all our final thoughts about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as we wrap up our 2 & 1/2 year long vampire slaying marathon.
Join ReWatchable for a discussion about Buffy the Vampire Slayer the movie, as well as the Buffy and Angel comics.
This week’s Hype Podcast topics include Ocean’s 8, Legally Blonde, Netflix, The 100, 13 Reasons Why and more.
Join ReWatchable for the final recap episode of the Buffy/Angel era, with Angel 5×21, “Power Play,” and 5×22, “Not Fade Away.”