Classy cast works wonders with Peanuts in terms of plot!

Review by Paul Nelson

THERE is something bone crunching when watching grown up adults, who one feels ought to know better, spend an evening behaving as children.

In the case of Snoopy The Musical, it is even creepier in that the characters are kids using grown up dialogue, which is the charm of the comic strip, but when translated to the stage with real grown ups you get a double whammy which is hard to swallow.

It says a lot for the cast of this show at the Jermyn Street Theatre that they manage to get over most of this overdose of twee and produce an evening which is enjoyable and diverting.

As a sop to the beagle dog, Snoopy, having been somewhat bypassed in the other Schultz inspired musical You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, this show concentrates on Charlie's dog.

Try as I might, I could not find a plot in the show. At one point before the interval, Snoopy shoulders a handkerchief tied to a stick full of whatever, and sets off for where? He is certainly back on the roof of his kennel when the second act opens.

Sorry to be pedantic, but I like to know the geography, where are they, where are they going, why are they doing it and what are they doing it for?

It seems to me the cast are being used to put over the previously mentioned adult dialogue while looking like attractive, if precocious, children, in the hope that the evening is one of hilarity and enlightenment.

Sadly, it isn't.

However, the show has some really excellently engineered numbers by Larry Grossman (music) and Hal Hackady (lyrics), both seasoned Broadway writers. I could never work out why Minnie's Boys, their musical about the Marx Brothers, never was staged in the West End. The Lord knows we have enough carbon copies of Groucho to have made it a hit.

What makes this show palatable is the classy cast.

Effortlessly strolling through the numbers, the dances, the dialogue and the facial expressions, they almost make the evening a wow, the reservation being in my opening sentence to this review.

Outstanding therefore, all of them. I find it hard to pick favourite performances, though it has to be said that Snoopy himself, who has the lion's share of showstoppers, doesn't put a foot wrong. The actor shows a wealth of charm that should do him in good stead for other, more rewarding roles.

If you are in on the humour of this cartoon strip, you will have a whale of an evening.

Snoopy The Musical, by Charles M Schultz and associates based on the comic strip Peanuts, Music by Larry Grossman, Lyrics by Hal Hackady, Directed by Joseph Pitcher, Musical Director Matt Malone, Choreography by Claire Winsper and Joseph Pitcher, Set and Lighting Design by Finuala McNulty, Costume Design Susan Pitcher, WITH: Stephen Carlile (Snoopy), Noel Gordon-Taylor (Charlie Brown), Sarah Lark (Lucy), Alice Chilver (Woodstock), Cassidy Janson (Peppermint Patty), Gemma McLean (Sally Brown), Stuart Piper (Linus). Presented by Morning Vicar Productions in Association with The Jermyn Street Theatre, a Zoop Zoop Production at The Jermyn Street Theatre, 16b Jermyn Street, London W1. Tickets 020 7287 2875.

GUIDE TO PICTURES: The above picture shows cast members, Noel Gordon-Taylor, Stuart Piper, Cassidy Janson, Stephen Carlile, Sarah Lark and Gemma McLean

RELATED LINKS: Click here for The Jermyn Street Theatre website...