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L.A. Beat

Toopy and Binoo come to life on stage in Toopy and Binoo and the Marshmallow Moon

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Popular children’s cartoon Toopy and Binoo comes to life for two shows, Jan. 19 at the Yates Theatre, 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Exploring the adventures of chatty giant mouse Toopy and his stuffed cat companion Binoo, who comes alive in his imagination, the cartoon becomes a big stage 90-minute production presented by Koba Entertainment called Toopy and Binoo and the Marshmallow Moon.Toopy and Binoo and Frank Meschkuleit. Photo by Koba Entertainment
“Well you’re half right,” said Frank Meschkuleit of upcoming visit to Lethbridge for the show. Meschkuleit, who does Toopy’s voice in the popular cartoon, pre-recorded the voice of the hyperactive, naïve and clueless giant mouse Toopy, who along with pint sized cat sidekick Binoo, have provided lots of laughs for both children and adults since 2005.

“I gave it my best swing at the bat. You do what you’re asked to do. Koba  had a great concept,” he said adding  the production which has between six to eight cast members.
“I’m hoping to get a free ticket to it when it comes to Toronto at some point, but I hear it is going very well,” he laughed, slipping into Toopy’s hilarious helium sounding high voice, speaking  of the production, which is touring all over Canada this winter.

“Toopy and Binoo are two dimensional characters, so it was a challenge for them to make them into three dimensional stage characters,” he continued.
“It was also a challenge for me, because Toopy is always going at 110 per cent on a constant high,” he said adding it took five weeks to record the vocals for the production. He finished the vocals for the cartoon series two years ago.

“So rather than having to keep him that high for 90 minutes  I wanted to find places in the production where he could rest, ” he continued adding that meant convincing the writers including Juno award winner Norman Foote, to give the other characters  a chance to carry the story.
“Toopy and Binoo sold about 500,000 DVDS in Canada alone, I’m not sure anybody sells 500,000 of anything anymore,” he observed adding he is impressed adults enjoy the cartoons as well.


“Toopy and Binoo are all about the fun. A lot of shows forget about the fun. A lot of people  figure if their toddlers or sitting there watching, you might as well teach them math. But kids want to see a lot of  bright colours and bouncing objects. People will come up and say to me, there’s a lot going on in the cartoons,” he said adding Toopy’s voice is inspired by  the Tigger character from Winnie the Pooh.
“When the producers cast the voice, they wanted me to do it like the voice I did in the (claymation series) Dragon. But I didn’t think it sounded right. I eventually told them to leave it with me. And my favourite character is Tigger from Winnie the Pooh He has a great voice and a great laugh,” he continued adding after seeing drawings of Toopy, he thought the character should have a similar voice.

In addition to Toopy and Binoo, Meschkuleit counts “Dragon,”  and a variety of movies to his credit including  “the Santa Clause 2,” “Harold and Kumar Go To Whitecastle,” “Bride of Chucky,” “Scary Movie 3”  and even lists “Fraggle Rock” on his résumé.

“That was one of my first jobs. I was  Jr. Gorg. I was one of the three body suited characters. It’s been a great career. I get paid to play for a living,” he said.
“I think kids are going to love this show. There’s a lot of action in it. It will be just the ticket for anyone who wants to see ‘Toopy and Binoo,” he said.
The show is at the Yates theatre at 3:30  and 6:30 p.m..  Wednesday, Jan. 19. Tickets are $29. If you miss these performances, Toopy  and Binoo will be back, Feb. 7.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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