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Snoopy provides childish good fun for all the family



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 Players Theatre.

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.

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