Look out Hardy Boys, its the Harty Boys

Fringe favorite gets a reprise at Bryant-Lake Bowl

THE WEDGE — For their last adventure, the Harty Boys solved The Mystery of How to Sell the Most Tickets of Any 2009 Fringe Festival Show.

Now they’re back. The Harty Boys — aka Joshua Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen — will reprise their hot-ticket show, “The Harty Boys in: The Case of the Limping Platypus,” this month on the Bryant-Lake Bowl stage.

Their family friendly spoof of the classic boys’ adventure series, “The Hardy Boys,” won over Fringe audiences with its take on the books’ wide-eyed teen protagonists, brothers Frank and Joe Hardy. A rough-and-tumble pair of kid detectives in their literary debut a century ago, the Hardy Boys are probably best remembered from the sanitized 1950s rewrites of their original adventures as a couple of gee-whiz do-gooders.

It was the latter version of the characters that inspired Scrimshaw and Weinhagen who, as Fred and Jack Harty, respectively, play up the boys’ earnestness and breathless enthusiasm. While the clean-cut Harty Boys are rooted firmly in the’50s, the whole world has grown up around them.

“People use cell phones, but they use walkie-talkies and are oblivious to anything too modern,” Scrimshaw explained.

In this adventure, set in modern-day Minneapolis, the Harty Boys go after the Platypus (Arnie Roos), an art thief and old arch foe of their famous detective father, Philmore Harty (Ari Hoptman). True to the conventions of the genre, there’s some rock ’em sock ’em action mixed in with the sleuthing, although the boys’ dubious detective skills meet their match when pitted against modern forensic techniques.

Scrimshaw said they play Fred, a brunette in a blue sweater, and Jack, a blonde in a red sweater, fairly straight. The genre’s outdated conception of boyhood was funny enough without much tweaking, he said.

Actually, Weinhagen first pitched Scrimshaw a stage adaptation of one of the original Hardy Boys books, assuming the oldest novels had fallen into public domain. When that turned out not to be the case, they settled on a gentle parody.
Gentle because they, like many others, grew up reading the adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy, and still remember the books fondly. As they were writing, Scrimshaw listened to a few audio-book versions old adventures and also read one of the stories to his son, then 8, to get a sense of what might appeal to the youngsters in the audience.

“Who did it and who’s the bad guy and what the nefarious plot is, is really where the boys’ level of interest is at,” he said.

Older audiences get their own kind of enjoyment from the parody, enough so that Scrimshaw and Weinhagen already have another Harty Boys adventure in the works, tentatively titled “The Harty Boys Save Christmas.”

Look out Santa.

Go see it

“The Harty Boys in: The Case of the Limping Platypus” runs April 16–24 at Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St. Shows times are 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturdays.
825-8949. bryantlakebowl.com


Prints from South Africa

THE WEDGE — From the Johannesburg, South Africa print workshop of David Krut comes a small show of prints, some political, others personal in theme, with a bit of surrealism in the mix for good measure.

On view at Highpoint Center for Printmaking, the show includes Diane Victor’s reworking of classical mythology into a modern setting. In her version of the Apollo and Daphne myth — rendered in a meticulous drypoint etching — love-struck Apollo is played by a grizzled, bare-chested tough, and equally sturdy Daphne sprouts thorns as she spurns his affections.

An undercurrent runs through the show of South Africa’s and the continent’s fraught political history. Wim Botha raises a pack of hyenas above the savannah by setting them atop an ornate pedestal, where they tear at a carcass.

There is violence in William Kentridge’s prints, too. The series “L’Inesorabile Avanzata” (“The Inexorable Advance,” roughly translated from Italian) seems to ponder the disconnection between real human suffering and its depiction in the media.

A globe walks on spindly legs. Women wail. Their tear-streaked faces wind up on the front page of the newspaper.

Go see it

“South African Prints from the David Krut Print Workshop,” runs through April 24 at Highpoint Center for Printmaking, 912 W. Lake St. 871-1326. highpointprintmaking.org.