You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown | Aleksander Vass and Vass ProductionsPhotos – James Terry Photography

For the Peanuts gang – Charlie, his sister Sally, Lucy, Schroeder, Linus and his best bud, Snoopy, it’s just an average day. A day made up of ordinary little moments. And therein, lies it appeal.

Pitched to the child in all of us, it’s a gentle, charming story really about the pursuit of happiness.

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown currently playing at The Alex Theatre, in St Kilda, is based on the enormously popular cartoon strip by Charles M Schulz. This musical, originally conceived off-Broadway in ’67, appearing on Broadway in ’71, and revived in ‘99 with new musical arrangements, has won Tony award nominations & a Drama Desk award along the way.

Under Gary Abraham’s direction, the (adult) actors have mastered the characters’ quirks and body language, and are completely convincing as children and canine. Allowing the real children in the audience, to recognise and identify with, these personalities on stage.

Cameron MacDonald’s performance as Charlie Brown was touching. Managing to convey such anxiety and insecurity, loyalty and kindness and ultimately, joy.

Sarah Morrison as Sally, had just the right amount of sassy. Adam Porter, as Linus with philosophical revelations with blanket, was very endearing. Robson Josh was suitably aloof and focused, as the artistic, Beethoven-idolizing Schroeder. Luigi Lucente’s Snoopy had swagger – he sings, he dances. He scats. We like that.

But for me, Courtney Glass, as Lucy was the stand-out. Bossy, intimidating and (apparently, unbeknownst to her) “95 out of a 100” crabby, all whilst sporting a flouncy bow and a bouffant. Quite magnificent.

The show features a collection of simple songs (and that’s by no means a criticism) that draw on a theme or sentiment, predominantly from the cartoon. My favourites had to be “Book Report” and the closing number “Happiness.”

Lucy’s response was GOLD. “Peter Rabbit is a stupid book about this stupid rabbit who steals vegetables from other people’s gardens.” It made me and my children laugh out loud. Very loud. Whilst “Happiness” was ever so sweet and telling, as all the characters come to realise what makes them truly happy. I think Charlie Brown said it best, “For happiness is anyone or anything at all, that’s loved by you.”

Jacob Battista’s set design was inventive and utilised the space incredibly well. Chloe Greeve’s Costume Design, particularly Lucy and Sally (who had an equally flouncy bow and ‘do’) provided much mirth but have to say, I was a teensy weensy bit disappointed not to see Charlie Brown’s big round bald head (but that could just be me).

I attended a preview and unfortunately for the actors, the theatre wasn’t packed, so it felt somewhat lacking in vibe. That said, I do recommend you take the kiddies, for being “a good man” really just means, trying your best and making the most of the things you’ve been given.

Aleksander Vass and Vass Productions present  
book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner | based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz

Directed by Gary Abrahams

Venue: Alex Theatre, Theatre 1 | 135 Fitzroy St, St Kilda VIC
Dates: June 21 – July 2, 2016
Tickets: from $25
Bookings: | 132 849

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