Stirling Community Theatre, Fri 24 Apr
The Peanuts comic strips by Charles M. Shultz are perhaps the most famous and influential in the history of the medium running continuously from 1950 until 2000. The musical version drawn from the popular comic strip was first performed on Broadway in 1967 and later revived in 1999; Peanuts characters Snoopy, Sally Brown, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder and Charlie Brown are played by adults.
You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown has an incredibly basic storyline and therefore reliant on a production team and cast that can carry the limited themes with enthusiasm to keep the audience interested. Overall, the Hills Musical Company has done a superb job in ensuring the joy and frivolity of childhood shines through in these celebrated characters.
Gareth Wilkes in the title role of Charlie Brown carries the show well and keeps his depressed and anxious expressions sombre, but nicely comical. Tonight, Wilkes became more comfortable with his character and singing as the show went on; he started to really shine in Act 2.
Buddy Dawson and Amy Nagesh as Linus Van Pelt and Lucy were fantastic in their roles. Amy was hilariously crabby and sung superbly while Linus was absolutely adorable drawing every cute and humorous moment out.
Millicent Sarre brought terrific playfulness to Sally, Omkar Nagesh was determined but still childish as Schroeder and Fahad Farooque sung wonderfully as Snoopy, but didn’t have the same intensity as the other characters.
Director Hayley Horton has cast an excellent mix of experienced performers and the orchestra led by Musical Director Peter Johns sounded spot-on with skilled musicians. Vanessa Redmond ensured the playfulness of the show was brought out in the choreography also, with My Blanket And Me the best number of the show.
The set, designed by Jamie Richards, while simple with snippets of the Peanuts comics scattered across the stage, was exceptional in its use of large blocks moved around the stage by the cast to transition into different scenes. In a show that requires constant energy and movement this was a clever choice so that the show doesn’t drag due to long scene changes.
You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown is accessible to both children and adults as a great reminder to find happiness in everyday life. It’s definitely worth the trip to Stirling to enjoy this great production.
You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown continues at Stirling Community Theatre until Sat 9 May.