You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

Aug 7 2018 | By More

★★★★☆   Fun from the Peanuts gallery

Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152): Fri 3 – Sat 11 Aug 2018
Review by Martin Gray

A classic family musical is revived by a capital company at Paradise in Augustines, as newcomers Bare Productions take on You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.

Charles M Schulz’s beloved Peanuts cartoons have had the stage musical treatment twice, and while the second, Snoopy The Musical, is my favourite, that’s probably more down to my having discovered it first than to it being vastly superior to this show.

Bare Productions You're A Good Man Charlie Brown EdFringe 2018 Review

Ellie Campbell and Cameron Kirby. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

Because You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown is a fine family work, full of great songs built from character shtick and classic sequences featuring Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Sally, Snoopy and, of course, good ol’ Charlie Brown.

Here, the costumes are dead on, the stage set is true to the strips, the gags nicely staged and delivered and the songs put over with real sweetness and verve. The music directed by Finlay Turnbull perfectly matches Clark Gesner’s (mostly) 1967 score. Heck, the cast from Edinburgh’s Bare Productions even manage some very commendable American accents.

You likely sensed a ‘but…’ was coming. Here it is: the playing of Sally Brown is deeply weird. Charlie Brown’s little sister has always been presented as naive, earnest, able to disarm with her straight questions arising from a non-cynical view of the world.

But Cathy Geddie’s Sally is a disturbing presence, constantly yelling, shoulders hunched, her face gurning as she stalks the stage looking as if she’s about to eat smaller members of the audience. Whether it was Geddie’s idea or director Dominic Lewis’s is not clear, but it is a misstep.

talent to spare

When Geddie is simply singing the songs, such as My New Philosophy, she’s terrific and obviously has talent to spare. But why, when all the characters are true to the strips and other versions of the musical is Sally so… bizarre.

Bare Productions You're A Good Man Charlie Brown EdFringe 2018 Review

Esmee Cook (alternate Lucy), Cameron Kirby and Thomas MacFarlane. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

The mania seriously distracts from such great sequences as Sally’s legendary coathanger sculpture protest – usually a masterclass in calmly delivered logic, here it feels like Sally is threatening teacher Miss Othmar’s life.

While Felicity Thomas’s choreography is sharp, one of Snoopy’s numbers, Suppertime, is lost to anyone beyond the front row as it’s played with him lying on the ground. A simple tweak would sort that.

The Bare team deserves credit for a splendid production of a fun show, one that, unlike another Fringe version, isn’t frustratingly truncated in length. Geddie, Cameron Kirby (Charlie Brown), Zoe Brookes (Lucy), David Doherty (Linus), Thomas McFarlane (Schroeder) and Ellie Campbell (Snoopy, her bunches cleverly essaying the beagle’s ears) are obviously having a ball, and it shows. Definitely worth catching.

Running time: One hour 30 minutes (no interval)
Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152), 41 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EL
Friday 3 – Saturday 11 August 2018.
Fri 3: 21:25; Sat 4- Sat 11: 19:50.
Tickets and details:

Bare Productions Facebook: @BareEdinburgh.
Twitter: @BareProductions.


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Comments (7)

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  1. Samuel McGregor says:

    I’ve been to see “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” 4 times and I couldn’t disagree with you more about what you said about Cathy’s Geddies portral of Sally Brown!

    Having watched the show as a child it was clear to me that she had done her research and portrayed Sally as the temperamental little child she was written to be. Threatening teacher! Pfft sit down! Clearly have never had to deal with a child having a tantrum. This was an excellent portrayal by an excellent actress!

  2. Lizzie Yates says:

    I also completely disagree with what was said about Cathy. I came to see this show with my children and was blown away by the standard of the show and in particular Cathy who played Sally Brown. It was nice seeing a different take on the classic role and the main thing it did was make my kids laugh!

  3. Carol Johnston says:

    “A disturbing presence”…come on! May I suggest the reviewer tries to acquire a sense of humour?? Sally was a scream and I hope the actress doesn’t take this reviewer’s comments to heart and change a thing about her performance. Well done Sally – great job!

  4. Megan Ferrier says:

    I brought my kids along to You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown on Monday and we all absolutely loved the show. The whole cast was fantastic and it was a treat to watch. It does seem unfair that almost half of this review is negative about Sally’s performance. You gave the show a good rating so it would’ve been nice to hear what you liked about individual performances rather than only what you disliked. We thought that Sally was one of the best things about the show. An opinion is an opinion but I disagree with yours.

  5. Steven Robertson says:

    I saw this production too (and have seen many others), as well as having read all the Peanuts strips (50 years of them) and loved it.

    Loved all the acting including Cathy, but must say that her representation of Sally was not quite what I was expecting, Sally coming over as being a bit manic as opposed to her sweetly earnest self.