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Transcript: Connie Meng Review aired Friday, August 31, 2001

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

at St. Lawrence Stage Co., Brockville, ON, Wed., August 29through Mon., September 3, 2001

The production of YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN was enthusiastically received by the opening night audience. Let me hasten to say if you think "Young Company" means children's theatre, think again. With a cast of 38 young performers ranging in age from what appeared to be 8 to 16 and backed by a seven-piece orchestra, this is a slick, lively and well-rehearsed production.

The set, designed by Calvin Prescott, is very colorful and provides a number of levels and playing areas, so that the stage never looks crowded. Graham Price's lighting is, as usual, very effective. The orchestra, ably conducted by Gilles Levac, sounds great. However, the sound from the pit tended to drown out the solo numbers. It's the first time at this theatre I've heard the sound balance really off. Mr. Levac isn't responsible, as he and his musicians are buried under the stage and are at the mercy of the board operator.

Michelle Carbery has created some spiffy staging for the nimble cast and her excellent dancers. I especially enjoyed the opening dance staged to Vince Guaraldi's music from the TV show, and later the two acrobatic rabbits. However in "The Kite" and "Suppertime" the stage seemed much too full and busy. The ribbon twirling, though well done, was particularly distracting. The lyrics to both songs tended to get lost and the dancers, good as they are, took the focus totally away from Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

I was impressed by the acting ability and professionalism of the entire cast, but especially that of the principal characters, including those added by Director Adam Furfaro. (I'm not going to name any names, as with a cast this size I'd be here an hour.) He also added some great lines, one from Marcie to Peppermint Patty that had me giggling. "There's a new weird list out, sir. You're a ten." And another from Schroeder at his chorus rehearsal --- "Now, adagio con brio!" Those of us who got it cracked up.

Lucy and Sally are both exceptionally strong actors and singers, as well as having good comic timing. Snoopy, played by a girl who was obviously having a lot of fun, Linus, a terrific dancer, and of course Charlie Brown with his vulnerability were all very good. Woodstock, uncredited in the program, got one of the biggest laughs of the night with a 15-second appearance.

Mr. Furfaro has taken some liberties with the script and music to create more opportunities for the extra cast members. For the most part, the additions work. The show is really fun and bodes well for the future of the Young Company.

As this is a special production, I'm not going to give it a rating. Let me just say that the production values and expertise out shine a couple of the adult productions I've seen this summer. It's a short run as school is starting, but YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN offers a unique opportunity to see a stage full of talented young people having a great time.

Artistic Director Adam Furfaro should be justly proud to have such a nifty production to wind up a strong season. For North Country Public Radio, I'm Connie Meng.