If you grew up reading the Peanuts comic strips or watching the TV show, this musical is for you. You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown is a joyful, energetic production from new Edinburgh theatre company Bare Productions that celebrates an icon.
Sitting down with director Dominic James Lewis and Cameron Kirkby (who plays Charlie Brown), we discussed the production and fun nature of the musical, from rehearsals to shows. Bare Productions is a theatre company established to provide more opportunities for those who have left university but want to continue pursuing theatre in their spare time. Lewis explained that, having finished his studies, he wanted to carve out a place for adults to work on their performances, providing more chances within the city for performers.
Kirkby talked about how he was told that he absolutely had to audition for the role of Charlie Brown by his friend, despite not being overly familiar with the Peanuts comics. Lewis explained how this project has allowed him to fall in love with something he was familiar with but not attached to, prior to embarking on the musical.
The rehearsal process itself sounds like a lot of fun, promising a thrilling performance. Despite the rehearsals stretching seven months with one rehearsal a week, Lewis explained that they were filled with choreography, intense singing rehearsals (the musical includes a six part harmony with each performer on their own harmony line), as well as numerous rehearsal games. In playing children, both Kirkby and Lewis explained how the process was challenging but filled with laughter as they learnt how to be childlike once more.
Another artistic challenge they have overcome is the fact that there is a pillar on the stage of their venue. Set designer Rachel Chung confronted this potential challenge, deciding to design the pillar as if it were a tree. Lewis explained how this creative decision has given the performers an opportunity to hide props around the tree and interact with it during the performance. This may be the company’s debut performance at Fringe but they have demonstrated creativity and energy before even starting their performance run. If you have seen their promotional images on social media, the block colours and exaggerated physicality definitely recall the playful and bold nature of the beloved comics.
This is a show that not only celebrates the Peanuts comics, but also allows Bare Productions to burst onto the Edinburgh stage with youth, talent, and (most importantly) a whole lot of fun.
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown
Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152)
6 – 11 August
Photo Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic