A 1950’s comic strip seems a highly unlikely source material for a successful musical, but it works. All the favourite characters are there but I approached with much trepidation – how could real life people become these iconic characters? With the excellent cast that director Haley Horton has put together it was a breeze.
There is no plot: Charles Schultz never gave Peanuts a plot. It was a series of observations on the irony and stupidity of life from the point of view of a few precocious youngsters. Jamie Richards has created a bright colourful set that the cast move as required and it works beautifully. As do the bright costumes by Marie Dineen. The music was handled expertly by Peter Johns, as usual. All is complemented by Vanessa Redmond’s imaginative choreography.
Lead character Charlie Brown is played by Gareth Wilkes who epitomises the insecure and vulnerable Charlie; he takes us into his world. Amy Nagesh is Lucy Van Pelt, always right (even when she’s wrong) and very crabby. Amy has lots of stage presence and is always noticeable on stage. Lucy’s younger brother Linus is portrayed cleverly by Buddy Dawson – he captures the innocence combined with the worldly experience that is Linus. His altered voice and blanket antics keep the audience entertained and he is the perfect foil for Lucy.
Scrhoeder stays out of controversy and plays his Beethoven, gracefully underplayed by Omkar Nagesh. It would have been tempting to make this character bigger, but Nagesh stays true to the comic strip character. Fahad Farooque is Snoopy, probably the hardest character to convey, but he manages to make it fun and really enjoys himself during the “Red Baron” segment. Millicent Sarre completes the cast as Sally Brown, Charlie’s little sister and she plays it well. In all, a dream cast Horton has sketched into a great comic strip.
Don’t miss this great production; the blanket dance alone is worth the price of the ticket!
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Your Twitter: @Franeds
Venue: Stirling Community Theatre Avenue Road, Stirling
Season: 24 April – 9 May 2015
Duration: 2 hours 30 mins including interval
Tickets: $22.00 – $32.00
Ticket Secretary – 0466 118 153