Review: You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at Paradise in Augustines
4★★★★

Edinburgh-based company Bare make their Fringe debut with the rarely performed musical, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

Based on Charles M Schulz’s cartoon strip ‘Peanuts’, the show is a series of short scenes and songs that piece together the world of Charlie Brown, his four friends, and his beloved dog Snoopy.

As a character driven piece, each member of the ensemble makes their mark individually, with the comic timing almost always on point. This is especially true of Esmèe Cook (Lucy Van Pelt) and Cathy Geddie (Sally Brown) who lift their caricatures from page to stage and bring subtleties and complexities that elevate their performances above the rest.

Whilst touring shows often have to scale back their production values when coming to the Fringe, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown benefits from a simple set and minimal props. It allows the cast to hold their own, and director Dominic Lewis has done a wonderful job ensuring that the cast bring presence and energy to every corner of the studio space. It would, however, be fair to say that some consideration could still be made with sight lines; Fringe venues are not always as forgiving as traditional theatres.

Credit must be given to Finlay Douglas who has clearly invested a lot of time and thought into his role as musical director. The vocals in the show are where the cast really excel, with harmonies, dynamics and solos all on point. Thomas Macfarlane’s ‘Beethoven Day’ and Ellie Campbell’s ‘Suppertime’ in particular are two standout numbers.

Catching the preview of this show, it is clear that there is plenty of local talent on offer in Edinburgh and, with a limited run, I’d grab your tickets now.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Paradise in Augustines, Aug 4-11, 7.50pm

 

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