Volume 94, Issue 54
Tuesday, December 5, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
That's a good play, Charlie Brown
Gazette File Photo
GO WEST, LIFE IS PEACEFUL THERE. Snoopy pays homage to The Village People in a scene from You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown
You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown
Starring: Edward Glen, Lisa Horner, Michael Therriault
Directed By: Timothy French
By Stephen Libin
"Good Grief!" The world's most popular loser has been brought to life at London's Grand Theatre, running now through Dec. 21. You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown is the live action version of the late Charles Schultz' comic strip, Peanuts.
Starring Edward Glen as Charlie Brown, the seemingly simple play provides a great premise for the audience to reflect on their own lives. The basis of the play is to show that although adults may believe they are the only ones with complications in life, a child's predicament can be just as difficult.
From Charlie Brown's inability to fly a kite, hit a baseball or impress a red-haired girl, to Schroeder's difficulties with an over-zealous admirer and the lack of appreciation for Beethoven, seemingly small situations are made into life-ending issues.
The music in this production is wonderful. The highlight of the performance is Snoopy's "Suppertime." Joined by the rest of the gang, Snoopy begins by pleading for his meal and then breaks into a chorus line when he receives the food. This scene, which uses shiny, red dog dishes as hats, is wonderfully constructed and brilliantly choreographed.
Western alumnus Sherry Garner (Sally) is exceptional and practically steals the show from the rest of the cast. Garner projects her enjoyment for being on stage to the audience and by interacting wonderfully with Michael Therriault (Snoopy), makes Charlie Brown's sister the most exciting character to watch.
Therriault also does a great job. Appropriately overacting, Therriault shows the audience that humans aren't the only ones with problems in their lives. To most, the reasoning behind lapping water from the yellow dish and eating from the red dish, and not the other way around, is seemingly insignificant. To Snoopy, however, this leads to a mind-bending thought process.
Unfortunately, the performances of Lisa Horner (Lucy) and Edward Glen were slightly disappointing. Based upon Schultz' original versions of Charlie Brown and Lucy, Glen and Horner fall short in regards to their pathetic state and level of crabbiness, respectively.
Set on a rather minimalist stage, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown takes advantage of bright colours, similar to those found in the comic strip. These same colours are used in the characters clothing. The costumes, designed by Allan Wilbee, suited each character very well. Most interesting was Snoopy's costume, simply white tights underneath a white ribbed shirt and shorts. In addition, Snoopy's lack of makeup gave the dog a much stronger human trait.
Another strong point in the production was the excellent use of props. When Charlie attempts to fly his kite, and momentarily gets it off the ground, a large kite is lifted off the stage and floats out over the crowd. This extends the stage out into the seating area and makes it appear as though Charlie Brown finally succeeded in flying his kite.
This play may be appropriate for young children, but the life messages are applicable to everyone. If you are looking for a break during the upcoming exam session, do not pass on a chance to go see You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000