Adelaide Fringe 2013

You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown

0 Comments 19 March 2013

AYT Charlie Brown

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown is a day in the life of Charlie Brown, his sister Sally, friends Schroeder, Lucy and Linus and his adorable beagle Snoopy. Rather than using a traditional narrative, the musical is made up of a series of vignettes and corresponding musical numbers, channeling the unique sense of humour that the original Charles M. Schulz comic strip is known for.

The musical includes all the iconic moments from the strip – Charlie Brown and his quest to be noticed by the Little Red Haired Girl, Snoopy and his efforts to defeat the Red Baron, Lucy and Schroeder’s tête-à-têtes over the piano, Linus and his blanket and poor Sally and her tangled skipping rope.  The six main players are supported by an energetic and lively chorus and a fantastic live band, all wearing matching Charlie Brown tops.

A simple, largely unadorned stage – apart from a red doghouse in the background of course – lets the talent of the main cast shine through. Particular mention must go to those in charge of costume as well, with the cast decked out in cute, colourful and impressively accurate costumes. The group numbers were wonderfully executed, and often brought loud applause from the audience. Keep an eye out for the baseball game number, where the cast play baseball in slow motion while Charlie Brown frets about his pitching ability, and The Book Report, a perfectly executed number involving the whole company and a lot of rabbits.

Watching the young cast perform – Kyle Hall (Charlie Brown), Ben Francis, (Snoopy), Tayla Coad (Sally), Georgia Broomhall (Lucy), Laurence Boxhall (Linus) and Benji Riggs (Schroeder) – you are transported into the world of their unique friendship group, their hopes, their dreams, their fears and their passions. They may not be six years old, but the cast harnesses the spirit and wonder of childhood in their mannerism and in their songs. Hall as Charlie Brown leads the cast capably while Broomhall nails Lucy’s energetic crabbiness, with Riggs and Francis providing some great comic moments. However the standout performances of the night were Coad as Sally and Boxhall as Linus. Their energetic performances and comic timing was spot on, and they totally inhabited the characters.

At 90 minutes, the show’s running time could have been a little shorter, especially as there is no linear storyline. It was also sometimes difficult to hear the leads sing, as the live band tended to overpower their voices. However, these were minor issues in what is overall a fun show.

The best thing about You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown is that it is show is for everyone. As someone who loves the original Peanuts comics, it was great to see some of my favourite moments brought to life with song – but you don’t need to be a fan or know a lot about Peanuts to enjoy the show, and the number of families in the audience attested to the show’s wide appeal.

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