Snoopy The Musical is the lesser-known sequel to the better known You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.
Snoopy The Musical premiered off Broadway December 20 1982, and has since has been performed around the world and even made into an animated special.
As the title suggests, the show focuses more on Snoopy rather than his perplexed owner Charlie Brown. The show is a series of vignettes of scenes that mainly focus on Snoopy and his relationships, particularly Woodstock.
Danny Forwards first solo venture in the director’s chair is a complete success, from casting to sets, Forward brings a very clear fresh vision of Snoopy The Musical to the stage. Forward’s direction is simple yet very effective, taking into use six differently coloured cubes. Each cube is colour coordinated to a different cast member, and has different pictures or letters on each side. The use of these cubes is very inventive and depending on which way they are turned, they go from being a pumpkin patch to the psychiatrists’ office for Lucy.
Tim Verdon’s band is in fine form, with Verdon leading on keyboard. He has done a great job with the harmonies and vocals which are tight in general. Kristy Griffin’s choreography is very together, and with such a small group of performers, the slightest mistake sticks out. Each cast member looks like a well-trained dancer thanks to GriffIn’s simple yet creative and well-drilled choreography.
Lighting designer Alan Crispin lights this space to great effect, along with Pietro Giordano’s colourful set design. Every scene looks like it has jumped off the page of a cartoon book. Fred Pezziment’s sound design was well balanced for the most part, although there were a couple of songs I struggled to hear some of the lyrics. This may have been because I was sitting in the corner underneath a speaker.
Jenni Osborn’s costumes stayed true to the Peanuts theme and had a very authentic look about them, even down to the matching socks.
The cast was lead by Tony Burge who gave a very colourful performance as Snoopy. His offsider Woodstock, who doesn’t speak or sing for the entire performance, was one of the most entertaining portrayals of a character I’ve seen in a long time – Daniel Baker needs to be commended on his amazing performance.
Snoopy’s owner, Charlie Brown was played by Rourke Puksand, who has a great voice and played the protagonist to a tee.
Candice Sweetman bought everything there is to dislike about Lucy to the fore, and, in doing so, was hilarious. Sweetman really shone in her scenes and her voice was in fine tune on opening night.
Peppermint Patty was my favourite character of the night, whether it be her cute way of not being able to tell Charlie Brown that she really likes him, or the way Allie Sutherland made every note out of her mouth an absolute joy to listen to – I’ll let you be the judge.
Blanket hugging Linus was portrayed by Nic Russ, who had great comedic timing and his tapping was beyond reproach.
Cute little sister to Charlie Brown is Sally Brown, played by Ashleigh Psaila to great effect. I especially loved the scene where they are in line going to the movies and she is pretending to be holding hands with Linus. The comedy timing in this scene was great.
‘Don’t Be Anything Less Than Everything You Can Be’ was perhaps the best song in the show: with all the movement, it was extremely effective. Another stand out number was ‘The Great Writer’, where the cast re-enact Snoopy’s book to great effect. I don’t think there’s been a show written that isn’t improved by an all-tapping all-singing ending to Act One. ‘When Do The Good Things Start’ was just such a number in Snoopy, which left this reviewer smiling as intermission loomed.
Snoopy The Musical is a lot of fun that has a talented production team and an equally talented cast.
Photo credit: www.pietrogiordanophotogra