June 2, 2023

Charlie Brown Hits Homerun

Bradley Silvestro as Snoopy in The Newtowne Players' production of "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown"

The theater advice, “Never work with children or animals,”  occurred to me more than once during Bradley Silvestro’s exquisitely timed performance as Snoopy in  “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,” running through August 14 at the Three Notch Theatre in Lexington Park.

Also putting out over-the-top wattage was Stephanie Laut as Lucy, occasionally making the audience forget the play is an ensemble piece.

But then comes one of those fully realized ensemble vignettes, and it’s director Missy Bell who shines. The Newtowne Players’ cast performs exactly as writer Clark Gesner describes the script, “None of the cast is actually six years old. And they don’t really look like Charles Schulz’ “Peanuts” cartoon characters. But this doesn’t seem to make that much difference once we are into the play, because what they are saying to each other is with the openness of that early childhood time, and the obvious fact is that they are all really quite fond of each other.”

Despite confessed misgivings, Bell captured this and directed a wonderfully choreographed (by Michael Bell) and harmonized ensemble that time after time put forth nothing short of perfectly timed trapeze work as the well-casted, poignant comedy of life romped across the stage.

Ryan Hancock as the hapless Charlie Brown lead the team that also included Billy Borst as Linus, Stacey Park as Sally and Tony Oblen as Schroeder. Also of note:  Music Director Diane Trautman who kept the occasionally even mad-capped pace perfectly pitched throughout.



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