“I really don’t think you have anything to worry about Charlie Brown”
Out in West London, the Tabard is a theatre that hasn’t really managed to work its way into my regular theatregoing: I’ve enjoyed things there, last Christmas’ Just So in particular, but it’s always been a bit on the wrong side of town for me to merit multiple trips, the nature of fringe theatre being essentially so variable.
But an interesting looking cast for You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown meant that I made the trip to Turnham Green once more. A musical comedy based on the famous Peanuts comedy strip, this is a revised version of the show by Clark Gesner, with additional songs and dialogue from Michael Mayer and Andrew Lippa and in another factor that convinced me to go, is directed by Anthony Drewe.
Perhaps unsurprisingly it wasn’t a particularly intellectually demanding show but then neither could it easily be dismissed as froth. There’s a wry charm to the way in which these stories of young children growing up and all their trials and tribulations are sweetly portrayed, a knowing innocence is probably the best way to describe it and wrapped in a fair deal of fun and silly songs. And in securing a rather top-notch cast, the sometimes slight material is given more of a dramatic weight that lifts the production from just being funny to an intimate delight.
Whether it’s Hayley Gallivan’s philosophically intense Sally, Adam Ellis’ blanket-obsessed Linus with a great line in childlike sarcasm or Leanne Jones’ beltingly brash Lucy, the cast give it their all throughout. And Mark Anderson’s lovable Snoopy is really rather special. Add in Nick Winston’s sharp choreography and Elliot Davis’ tight band, both working extremely well in the limited space. It worked well as a show for both those who know the comic (my companion) and those who do not (yours truly) and though it disappeared gossamer-like into the ether as soon as we’d left the theatre, sometimes what you want is candy-floss.