The Church Hill Theatre
21-25 August (ex.24) various showings.

CharlieBrownSnoopy:  a six foot adolescent dressed in a white tracksuit with black ears clipped onto a baseball cap. No No No NO NO NO!!!! Or as Linus would say “I can’t take it!”, and I really could not. Despite the best of intentions and neon smiles by the members of the Tri-School Theatre, the beauty of the ‘Peanuts’ characters lies in the sketchy doodles of Charles M Schulz’s comic strips.

This show upset me, the nail in the coffin being when Snoopy spoke. The collective jaw dropping then worsened when he began to sing…off key. I do not mean to pick on the chap playing Snoopy, to be fair to him, they were all pretty sketchy vocally and he was entertaining with very good timing.

While its execution was not wonderful, classic Schulz material weaves through the musical and effortlessly pulls it up by its socks. Indeed Lucy is at her psychiatrist booth ready to give Charlie some advice, and Charlie glumly muses about his good and bad days, ultimately deciding it is best just to wear his lunch bag on his head. The script too, procured some beautiful moments: having retrieved the pencil of the Little Red Haired Girl (his admired from afar crush), Charlie Brown proudly displays it exclaiming “there are teeth-marks all over it . . . she nibbles her pencil . . . she’s HUMAN!

The saving grace of the production was the enthusiasm of the cast. They soldiered on in curly haired wigs and silly outfits with great cheer, brandishing coat hanger sculptures, blankets and kites with great zest. The spirits of the actress playing Sally, in particular, couldn’t have been crushed by a freight train.

Enjoyable but not a patch on the comic strip.

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