Published on January 14th, 2024 | by Andrew Bistak
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown Review (Geelong Performing Arts Centre 2024)
Summary: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is fun musical for the entire family!
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a family friendly musical that follows the classic characters of Charlie, Sally, Lucy, Schroeder, Linus and everyone’s favourite pooch Snoopy. As a fun fact, Charlie Brown was created by Charles M. Schultz and his first official appearance was in the comic strip Peanuts dated 2-October-1950. Needless to say, Charlie and his colourful and quirky assortment of “friends”, including pet dog Snoopy has become an entertainment institution for children that is also fondly loved by adults as they grew up with these characters. It was also created in a time way before political correctness.
Given that popularity does some amazing things and in 1967, a musical called You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown was launched by Clark Gesner who wrote the music and lyrics, followed by a 1999 version by Andrew Lippa. Right between both musicals was a TV adaptation and over the past few days (11-Jan-2024 to 13-Jan-2024), Geelong and its surroundings were treated to this catchy, funny and at times strange musical courtesy of Geelong’s new Production Company, What’s On? with additional support from Origin Music, Tams Witmark and ‘Concord Theatricals. Geelong just got its mini-Broadway spectacular!
The creative team for this production includes Green Room Nominated and Guild Award Winning Director, Paul Watson (Jersey Boys, We Will Rock You) and Green Room Nominated and Guild Award Winning Choreographer, Venessa Paech. Further, the cast behind this production are fantastic that stars Andrew Lorenzo (Charlie Brown), Andrew Smith (Schroeder), Chelsea Gibb (Lucy Van Pelt), Quinlan Kelly (Linus), Sophia Katos (Sally Brown) and Luke Alleva (Snoopy). So what’s the result, a very amusing and catchy walk down memory lane with lots of classic Charlie Brown references.
As soon as the cast start singing You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, you immediately know that you are in a treat as Charlie dreams of romance, Schroeder wanting the school concert to be a hit or Lucy dreaming of becoming a Queen with her brother Linus and his blanket bluntly telling her its impossible. However the moments with Snoopy are a fantastic homage to this lovable pooch from him sleeping on his kennel all day to this at times lazy and hungry dog dreaming of fighting the red baron, it’s weird, it’s fun and again, it’s an amazing homage to a simpler time. The songs and music are quite infectious that are well supported by the colourful lighting, cartoon imagery and sets that almost make it feel like you are moving.
Best of all, the cast seem to be having a ball that really drew the audience in. However, a special mention should be made about Luke Alleva who dresses in white to bring Snoopy to life – but more importantly, he has all the mannerisms of a dog which makes you quickly forget that this dog is a human… or something like that. Needless to say, he had the audience in hysterics as did the other cast members and the surprise dance near the end is almost worth the admission price alone and yes this is a spoiler. Lastly, there are some moving moments in the musical, most from the perspective of Charlie who is brilliantly played by Andrew Lorenzo who adds some powerful emotion into the story telling. Given that each of the cast had their moment shine in this wacky musical.
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown was a truly delightful music from start to finish and hopefully this performance gets to tour Australia – great fun indeed!