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You're a good man, Charlie Brown

 

More news for Middle School

The enduring joyfulness and innocence of the Peanuts gang from Charles Schulz’s beloved comic strips came
to life in the Middle School production, You’re a good man Charlie Brown, which was a colourful, whimsical, and very funny show.

Director, Ginnie Thorner, says the musical is created through a series of vignettes, most
of which can be found in the original comic strips. “The story follows the life and times of the hopeful Charlie Brown, his friends, and his dog, as he navigates what it is to be young in the world. His friends have a colourful set of personalities, which play on many of the attributes we may recall in our siblings or children.”

Ethan Bonis (Year 10) did a great job with the difficult task of bringing the naïve young Charlie Brown to life. He beautifully portrayed the character’s vulnerability and despair, alongside his eternal optimism that tomorrow would be a better day. Ethan also shone in the musical numbers.

The other five main cast members also sparkled in their roles. The female leaders, Xanthe Pearce (Year 9) as Charlie’s confident sister, Sally Brown, and Portia Bennie (Year 10) as the siblings’ friend, and force of nature, Lucy, were both scene stealers. While all of the young actors did a great job with the American accent, Xanthe completely nailed it. Her performance of My New Philosophy, sung with piano prodigy, Schroeder (played by Jack Flanagan – Year 9) was a highlight.

Portia also had a very strong stage presence and acting skills, and was excellent as bossy Lucy, who was hopelessly in love with Schroeder, feelings which were definitely not reciprocated. Her performances during The Doctor is In (Dr Lucy) and Little Known Facts were especially memorable.

Another standout was Marco Leighs (Year 10) as Lucy’s thumb sucking, blanket loving brother Linus,
whose acting and comic timing was exceptional, drawing many laughs.

As Schroeder, Jack Flanagan perfectly captured the character’s love for Beethoven and classical music, and his disdain for the lovelorn Lucy. Jack has a great singing voice, and he particularly shone in the exuberant production number, Beethoven Day.

One of the most beloved Peanuts characters is eager beagle, Snoopy, who was played with enthusiasm and humour by Matthew Lee (Year 9). He was another young actor with a powerful voice, who was clearly relishing the role.

Supporting the main actors was a large company, which performed with enthusiasm and playfulness. Some of the soaring harmonies created during the company numbers in the show such as Happiness, and Bows, were breath-taking.

The set and costumes were fabulous – a riot of primary colours and cartoon imagery. As always, the live band, led by Head of Music, Duncan Ferguson, did an outstanding job, and kept the audience’s toes tapping throughout. Hana Pearce (OC 2019) returned to create much of the show’s superb choreography.

Director, Ginnie Thorner, says she is incredibly proud of the entire team involved in the production, with the cast only making it into the theatre 10 days before the end of Term 3. “The events of this year have posed some serious challenges for productions, and the entire team involved in this show have shown a great deal of flexibility, tenacity, and very hard work. You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown reminds us we all have moments of despair and hope, and that we need our friends to help 

us persevere. It also reminds us we can all find moments of joy and happiness, because, as Charlie Brown says, “Happiness is anyone and anything at all, that’s loved by you.”

 

The enduring joyfulness and innocence of the Peanuts gang from Charles Schulz’s beloved comic strips came
to life in the Middle School production.

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