DHT’s “Charlie Brown” delivers holiday treat
“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).