New to Scarborough: Monsters University, U

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Monsters University conjures up a back story to the enduring friendship of Mike (Crystal) and Sulley (Goodman) from Monsters, Inc.

In the colourful and fast-paced prequel, director Dan Scanlon harks back to Mike’s childhood when the six-year-old ignites his desire to become a scarer.

Many years later, Mike excitedly heads off to university to realise his dream.

He befriends shy roommate Randall Boggs aka Randy (Steve Buscemi) and impresses his teachers by regurgitating facts from textbooks.

However, classmate Sulley gets all of the attention and is courted by the Roar Omega Roar fraternity and its dashing president, Johnny Worthington (Nathan Fillion).

The rivals’ fates rest on an end-of-term exam, which must be passed or Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren) will expel them from the course.

He joins forces with the misfits from Oozma Kappa fraternity – tentacled mature student Don (Joel Murray), lovably naive Scott Squibbles (Peter Sohn), conjoined siblings Terri (Sean Hayes) and Terry (Dave Foley) and purple-striped extrovert Art (Charlie Day) - to prove that every underdog has his day.

Monsters University boasts the same appealing cocktail of comedy, action and friendship as its predecessor, including some lively supporting performances.

Dialogue zings and Crystal and Goodman ease back into their roles as if they were putting on a favourite pair of old slippers.

The script conceals few surprises but there are some pleasing narrative detours, and the rivalry with Mirren’s authoritarian creates a frisson of dramatic tension.

It’s on at the Futurist Theatre