Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Snoopy"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2005 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Mansfield Music & Arts Society's current show is "Snoopy", a sequel to "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown". It is based on the comic strip "Peanuts" by Charles Schulz. Originally written for adults, this version is performed by 7 children from the ages of eight to eleven years old. They portray the five year old characters from the comic strip perfectly with this show centered on Snoopy, the dog and his sidekick, Woodstock. The show is a series of effervescent vignettes, songs and dances which follow will pull the audience into the entertaining world of these five year olds and their furry friend. Veteran director, Gary Poholek takes these energetic and talented children and turns them into a polished and well rehearsed theatre troupe who receive a standing ovation at the close of this exciting fun filled show.

Gary's brilliant blocking of all the scenes make the show flow effortlessly while recent high school graduate Ariana Kampanelas choreographs some upbeat dance numbers including a kickline. Gary also designed the colorful set, doghouse and boxes while his wife, Ellen made the comic strip costumes and Brockton English teacher, Alice Springer was assistant director.Greg Woodard, the music director will be a sophomore at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin where he is a Jazz Piano Performance major. Greg also is the accompanist for this show and taught all the wonderful music to this young cast. The show opens with "The World According to Snoopy" which shows how all the characters react to this lovable beagle. It follows them from the doghouse to the schoolroom through the vigil for the Great Pumpkin to the Easter Beagle to watching clouds to Snoopy, the writer and the Head Beagle to Christmas time. Their adventures are hilarious and their talent shines through in their lines and in their singing and dancing abilities, too.

11 year old Adam Landry leads the cast as Snoopy. He is a versatile and dynamic performer who captures your heart from his first entrance with his comic antics. Adam's strong voice is heard in several songs including "Snoopy's Song" with the chorus where he tells what everyone expects of him, in "Daisy Hill" where he reminisces about where he came from and promises to mend his ways, in "The Great Write" where he writes his short story and his novel on a typewriter while Woodstock played by 8 year old Kyle Burke(dressed in all yellow, he doesn't speak a word but mimes everything perfectly, reminding you of a modern day Harpo Marx) pantomimes the various characters in these scenes and his biggest number of the show "The Big Bow Wow" where he accepts the title of Head Beagle while dancing around with his supper dish and ending it with a hitch kicks. Cameron Connaughton plays Charlie Brown. He may be small in stature but he possesses a powerhouse singing voice that will knock your socks off. Cameron voice soars in the choral numbers "Edgar Allan Poe" where the teacher seems to call on you when you don't know the answer to a question and in "Don't be Anything Less", a rousing number which encourages us to attain higher goals in life but his most poignant and heart warming number in the show is his solo, "Where Did That Little Dog Go?" where he muses about Snoopy's new found independence. Cameron's moving rendition will leave you in tears as it tugs at your heartstrings with its warmth and sincerity.

11 year old Livvy Marcus plays Peppermint Patty who calls Charlie Brown, Chuck. She has many funny one liners and she makes each of them count, whether she is shouting out the answers to a true and false test or worrying about being called on in class. Livvy also has a powerful voice, having played the title role of Annie in 2003. In this show, she gets to show off her pipes in "Poor Sweet Baby" where she sings a belting up tempo song to please how Chuck wants his future wife to talk to him. She and her real life sister, 8 year old Addy Marcus who plays Sally Brown and 11 year old Natalie Cokely who plays Lucy get to sing a catchy song and dance song called "I Know Now" where Lucy exclaims wouldn't it be wonderful to live your life all over again if you knew what we know now. Addy is a hoot as she delivers her funny lines and sings and dances up a storm as Sally. Her energy is limitless. Natalie plays the bossy, Lucy wonderfully as she stomps around the stage declaring this is her year and then changing her mind a few seconds later. Lucy also gets a chance to sort through Charlie Brown's problems in her psychiatric booth by telling him that each of us can be whatever she wants to be and to deal with Linus during the frenzy of wash day. 8 year old Mickey White plays the smart as a whip Linus who knows the important facts of Poe's life in that song. But since Linus is a five year old, he also believes in the Great Pumpkin who comes every year to give presents and Mickey sings about it in a song called "The Vigil" where he waits and waits for him to show up. He also sings some group numbers including "Don't be Anything Less" with Livvy, Addy and Cameron. The show closes with a beautiful and moving company song called "Just One Person" which tells how everyone is important to one another. The entire show fills everyone's heart with laughter and hope which is just what current times call for. So for an excellent evening of family entertainment with the familiar and lovable Peanuts characters, be sure to catch this topnotch version of "Snoopy".

"Snoopy" (18 - 21 August)
MMAS Block Box Theatre, 30 Crocker Street, MANSFIELD MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide