DHT’s “Char­lie Brown” de­liv­ers hol­i­day treat

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - DETOURS - Re­view by Wayne Harada Spe­cial to the Star-Ad­ver­tiser ——— “A Char­lie Brown Christmas” runs through Dec. 23 at Di­a­mond Head Theatre, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Thurs­days to Satur­days and Dec. 20, 4 p.m. Sun­days and 3 p.m. Dec. 9, 16 and 23. Tick­ets: $15-$50;

“A Char­lie Brown Christmas” is sen­ti­men­tal, sweet and short — a splen­did hol­i­day gift from Di­a­mond Head Theatre per­fectly timed to com­bat the chal­lenges of the yule­tide sea­son.

It’s sen­ti­men­tal, be­cause it’s com­fort­ing and cute — a live-ac­tion ren­der­ing of the eter­nal, an­i­mated TV spe­cial fea­tur­ing the “Peanuts” gang, com­plete with Vince Guaraldi’s iconic jazz score.

It’s sweet, be­cause the show hu­man­izes the Charles M. Schulz fran­chise of char­ac­ters we’ve grown up with and loved, with all their idio­syn­cratic per­son­al­i­ties in­tact.

You’ll rec­og­nize ‘em: Char­lie Brown

(Mathias Maas), made mis­er­able by the ma­te­ri­al­ism of the sea­son and chal­lenged to moder­ate his at­ti­tude by di­rect­ing a Christmas show; Lucy (Ix­chel Sa­maniego), dis­pens­ing her psy­chi­atric tirades at 5 cents a ses­sion; Snoopy (Celia Chun), decorating his dog­house to re­flect the hol­i­day spirit while at­tempt­ing to snag a prize; Li­nus (Moku Du­rant), tot­ing his se­cu­rity blan­ket; and Schroeder (Brandon Sa­balla), striking out Beethoven notes and “Jin­gle Bells” on his kid-size piano.

It’s also short, as the show runs a mere 50 min­utes, not in­clud­ing a post-cur­tain carol sing-along of fa­vorites like “Silent Night.”

A sur­prise: Char­lie Brown’s in­fa­mous skimpy Christmas tree (spoiler alert) is ac­tu­ally a tyke here — adorably por­trayed by Pono Lun­dell — in a brown suit with a few bits of green.

Di­rec­tor Ike Web­ster, who dou­bles as mu­si­cal con­duc­tor, pulls the heart­strings in some of the scenes and in­spires his en­sem­ble to de­liver the show’s mes­sage: com­pas­sion and con­nec­tions with friends and fam­ily mat­ter, not things. Chore­og­ra­pher Chun works in solo magic as Snoopy and steers the cast through myr­iad pre­ci­sion turns, from faux skat­ing to ball­room dancing.

“A Char­lie Brown Christmas” couldn’t have ar­rived at a bet­ter time, af­ter a year of ex­as­per­at­ing po­lit­i­cal tur­moil and the on­go­ing tsunami of sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions that dom­i­nate the news and late-night pro­grams.

Good grief, if you can’t find hap­pi­ness in your heart from this pro­duc­tion, you may be a Grinch.


Char­lie Brown (Mathias Maas), Freida (Jessy Luke) and Pig-Pen (Joshua Haili-Silva).

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