Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Dystopian Take on “Peanuts”-Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead

Wales at Edinburgh Fringe

Troupe of Herded Cats , The Space on Niddry Street, Edinburgh , August 26, 2016
Wales at Edinburgh Fringe by Troupe of Herded Cats If Tent of Xerxes set the bar for strangeness of names then this company, from Trinity St David Carmarthen, is in competition.

From “Broadway Baby” 25th August

“In this play we’re granted a view into a future version of the world of Peanuts. In this world,
Charlie Brown & Company are all teenagers, and they’re completely changed, yet totally recognizable, versions of their cartoon selves. Only, everything takes a decidedly darker turn.

Snoopy has eaten Woodstock and then later died of rabies. Charlie Brown (referred to only as ‘CB’) is going around town depressedly asking everyone whether they think dogs go to heaven or not. He doesn’t get good answers from any of them. Why? Because Linus is a stoner, Pig-Pen is a homophobic bully and sex fiend, Peppermint Patty and Marcie get drunk on white russians every day at school during lunch, and Lucy is institutionalized in a psychiatric ward (because she’s a pyromaniac). Meanwhile, it’s revealed that Schroeder was sexually abused by his father, and now he is a total pariah at school. CB bullies Schroeder but is also in love with him. Schroeder doesn’t want to talk to CB or to anyone. He plays piano by himself every day during lunch and doesn’t want to talk to anyone. There is drama galore, and this is a drastically different world than the comics. Still, charmingly, some things don’t change. For example, the teacher’s voice is still the sound of a trombone.

o, how does the play come off? For the most part, it goes pretty well. Unfortunately, however, the production as a whole is brought down a little by the acting of the lead, ‘CB’. Admittedly, this is a difficult part, and so much of the play hinges on it. What is disappointing is that he is not always convincing. When he’s going around asking everyone whether they think dogs go to heaven, his character isn’t really believable. When he falls in love with Schroder, his romance isn’t believable either. This is really too bad because the other characters do fine jobs with their roles. The parts are smaller, and require less of an emotional range, and they do fine jobs. Perhaps with a stronger lead, this could have been a more compelling play. Still, it is an interesting hour and a half, and might be fun if you’re a Peanuts fan.”

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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