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REVIEW: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Book, Music and Lyrics by Clark Gesner
Presented by Mainstage Theatre Company
Directed by Don Gay
Peacock Theatre, Salamanca Place
23 October-2 November 2014

If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s possible to turn a comic strip into a musical, the Mainstage Theatre Company production of Broadway show You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown suggests that not only can it be done, but it can be done brilliantly. Based on Charles M. Schulz’ much-loved ‘Peanuts’ series, the show brings the wit and insight of the comic to the stage in clever and creative ways, with short skit-like scenes and bouncy tunes telling the stories of Charlie Brown, his friends and of course, Snoopy.

At first it seems strange to see adults dressed like children (plus one young man acting as a dog, albeit a rather human-like one), but the talented cast pulls it off and after a few songs it all seems completely natural. An anxious and uncertain Charlie Brown is portrayed well by Andrew John, while Anna Kidd’s performance as Lucy Van Pelt is suitably irritating, loud and hilarious, with her lines getting many laughs on opening night. The characters of Sally Brown (Melanie Brown), Linus Van Pelt (Jeremy Pyefinch), Schroeder (Bodane Hatten) and Snoopy (Christopher Forbes) are all cleverly and convincingly inhabited.

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The show is full of energy, with a great band and lots of bright costumes complementing the strong cast. While there is plenty of light-heartedness for everyone to enjoy, the musical also explores universal themes like rejection, self-doubt, and friendship, cleverly presented through children’s eyes. In this way, the show captures the essence of the Peanuts comic strip while also adding a lively musical twist. It’s not often that we can draw links between Hobart and New York, but this great production shows that Broadway can come to life in Salamanca.

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown runs until Sunday 2nd November 2014, full details including session times and where to purchase tickets can be found on their facebook event here.

Photos: Supplied by Carmen Stephens, FoV

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