Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

May 1, 2007

It’s a good show, Plaza Theatre

Lots of energy in ‘Charlie Brown’

Plaza Theatre Co. staged its inaugural performance and instituted its first season Thursday with the opening of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” a delightful, family-friendly musical based on the work of Charles M. Schultz in his “Peanuts” comic strip. I had the pleasure of attending the first Saturday evening performance for this review.

This is one of the most frequently presented musicals in community theaters. The reason is because “Peanuts” as a comic strip appeared in 2,000 newspapers worldwide and has a near universally recognized and admired set of characters with whom just about everyone can identify. There is nothing but pure fun and charm generously heaped into the humorous presentation of a day in the life of Charlie Brown in the middle of the crisis of being forever 5 years old. The characters are funny, lovable and allow all in attendance to simply have a good time.

Plaza’s “Charlie Brown,” like all its planned performances, is presented in the round — the stage is in the center of the theater and the audience is seated on all four sides. The actors enter and exit from three access areas between the main seating areas. All the action and activity take place front and center and this makes the audience feel almost part of the show.

This delighted the children in the theater, especially during the lengthy “Chasing Rabbits-Book Report on Peter Rabbit” scene that features Sally and Snoopy chasing imaginary rabbits up into the audience seating, and it concludes the first act.

“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is presented in two energy-filled acts that start with a series of small, individual sketches by each character and, of course, is all centered on and about Charlie Brown and a typical day in his life. These small sketches, almost like one-liner jokes, start getting longer and longer and build thematically into larger scenes, the largest of which concludes each of the two acts. Each sketch and vignette introduces the particular personality of each character as the characters relate to Charlie Brown.

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