Theater Review: You're a Good Man Charlie Brown 

Happiness Is ... a warm-hearted musical evening with the Peanuts gang

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
April 1-2, 7:30 p.m.
$15
Coffeehouse Theatre at the Cotton Dock
Boone Hall Plantation
1235 Long Point Road, Mt. Pleasant
(800) 838-3006
www.thecompanycompany.com

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a breath of fresh air.

It seems strange to say, given that the Peanuts gang has been with us for over half a century, and that even the Broadway musical version itself has a few decades on it now. But it's just so refreshing to see a show nowadays that simply celebrates the innocence in life without apology.

In other words, no, this is not just a show for children.

It is a show for anyone who remembers that childhood is a place of good memories as well as bad.

Happiness and innocence, after all, are aspects of life every bit as authentic as snide remarks and cynicism. We tend to forget that in the age of reality TV, in which success, intelligence, and social standing are apparently considered synonymous with backstabbing, meanness, malicious cliques, and a refusal to play well with others (and we wonder why we are in so much trouble as a nation and as a world?).

That's the difference, and maybe that's why Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Sally, Linus, and Schroeder have all attained such iconic status over the last 60 years: They understand you don't have to be mean in order to be smart.

The Company Company understands that as well, making this talented troupe led by Bill Schlitt and Maida Libkin especially well suited for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Not only is the show good clean fun, it's also chock full of great songs and witty zingers.

Robbie Thomas was spot on as Charlie Brown, the round-headed kid in the yellow shirt with the single zigzag stripe who just can't catch a break. The big-hearted earnestness with which good old Chuck faces disappointment after disappointment was apparent in every one of the deceptively simple expressions Thomas wore throughout the show.

With his performance as Snoopy, Jamie Smithson once again proves that he's one of the local masters of physical comedy. He discovered his inner beagle and danced it all around the stage to the delight of the audience.

If you happen to have a passel of progeny romping at home, this would be the perfect show to haul them off to in order to instill an early appreciation for the arts. But if there are no kids around, then, hey ... go just for you.

After all, we could all use a few more smiles.


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