Review by Emma Whitelaw
JOE Cool and the Gang return to the West-End for the 21st Anniversary
Production of Snoopy the Musical at the New
Based on the comic strip, Peanuts, by Charles M Schultz, and
directed by Broadway legend, Arthur Whitelaw, the show is full
of light-hearted humour and wickedly childish fun.
The production most certainly lives up to its promise of being
‘the best strip show in town’, and why not? If Annie
is anything to go by, comic strips translate very well into the
realm of theatre.
Young and old alike were charmed by the cutesy characters we
are all so familiar with.
Snoopy, played by Robin Armstrong, holds the limelight this time
as the main protagonist, while Charlie Brown, Steven Kynman, takes
a backseat along with the rest of the gang.
The production features a fabulous jazz band score by none other
than Larry Grosman, of The Muppets fame. The wonderful jazzy numbers
set the scene for some truly amazing tap routines.
The cast were all incredibly talented dancers and singers - each
as fabulous as the next.
The most outstanding, however, would have to be Kellie Ryan,
who played Peppermint Patty - her voice was reminiscent of none
other than a young Liza Minelli, and she surely stole the show
with numbers like Hurry Up Face, where she comically pleads to
her face that it catch up with the size of her nose.
The character who stole my heart,
however, was Alex Woodhall’s Woodstock.
Always my favourite in the original comic strip, Woodhall portrayed
the darling yellow bird brilliantly. Flitting and flying about
the stage, without ever saying a word, that is until the last
number, he had the audience in stitches.
The only one criticism I would have of the show is that there
is no real plot. Each scene is a completely separate story but,
to be honest, in staying true to its comic strip roots, that is
probably to be expected.
Lucy was her loveable bossy self, in the form Sarah Lark. She,
too, was fabulous as the pretty little daddy’s girl who
always gets her way.
And Clare Louise Connelly was absolutely gorgeous as Charlie
Brown’s little sister, Sally. The entire cast were incredibly
talented and a pleasure to watch.
The set, too, was brilliant. Simple yet very effective, it featured
Snoopy’s trademark red and white dog house, along with two
large ladders on either side of the stage.
Something must also be said about the magnificent lighting and
costuming. An explosion of colour and sound, it was a true delight
for the senses.
Strongly recommended as a night out for all the family, full
of giggles and harmless kiddie fun.
Snoopy The Musical, based on the comic strip "Peanuts"
by Charles M Schultz. Book by Charles M Schulz creative associates,
Warren Lockhart, Arthur Whitelaw and Michael L Grace. Music by
Larry Grossman, lyrics by Hal Hackady. Starring Robin Armstrong,
Clare Louise Connelly, Steven Kynman, Sarah Lark, Stuart Piper,
Kellie Ryan and Alex Woodhall. And at certain performances, Kristen
Harvey and Dominic Watson. At the New Players Theatre, The Arches,
Villiers Street, London WC2. Box Office 0870 0332626.