Page to stage adaptations are nothing new but a sixty-three year old comic strip developing into a stage musical is certainly unconventional. For those who loved Peanuts and for those who like to celebrate their inner child, this theatrical piece is for you.
That said, you do not need to be a Peanuts fan to enjoy this piece, although you would certainly appreciate it more. If you are, this Tony award winning musical will hit the spot and be a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The narrative is a brilliant mesh of comical scenarios, world weary self-deprecation and pure silliness. Billed as ‘a ‘concept album’ of songs based on characters from the comic strip’, it consists of a collection of vignettes – some random, but all interconnected – and centre on eight-year-old Charlie Brown and the many character flaws that give him (what he is told is) a ‘failure face’.
Along the way we also get to know the rest of the Peanuts gang – Sally, Lucy, Schroeder, Linus and of course his beloved pooch, Snoopy. From a lonely lunchtime monologue with the biggest ‘awww’ factor to a seamless acoustic song on a loop about Peter Rabbit, there is a lot to love and laugh at, largely due to the incredibly talented cast.
I thought Finlay MacAulay was perfectly cast as Charlie Brown. He brought an amusing physicality to the character as well as striking an excellent balance between being cynical and vulnerable, to great comedic effect. While MacAulay is certainly the star of the show, the performance really soars when the whole ensemble comes together. Individually they are all skilled vocalists and stage performers and collectively they are a well-oiled machine.
What I was most impressed by was how each cast member really understood who they were playing. They effortlessly brought these beloved characters to life – it felt like they were plucked right out of the comic strip.
Just like every supper time is for Snoopy, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown is a wonderfully joyous occasion. It is feel good musical theatre at its best – an extremely polished, highly entertaining and incredibly charming production performed by a stellar cast.