There’s not as much to laugh about in high school. But, let’s be honest, the childhood world of Peanuts wasn’t always funny, either. Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead moves Charles Schulz’s eternally young characters into high school, where cartoon legends stop being polite and start getting real.
The Footlights production, directed by J.C. Conway, is packed with all the Peanuts references a fan can hope for, wrapped in a parade of profanity, indiscriminate drug use, and sex, all while telling a disturbing tale of popularity, sexuality, and growing up. The script by Bert V. Royal is a little bumpy at times, but strong performances keep this show out of the doghouse.
These characters we grew up reading have catapulted past puberty and into the awkward societal ladders of high school. CB (formerly Charlie Brown) is one of the popular kids, but the death of his dog draws him to right wrongs, starting with the homophobia and bullying thrust upon outcast Schroeder. There’s a sweet moral in there about being yourself and seeing past the artificial world of high school.
But you’re not going to this show for that. You want to hear “blockhead” and “good grief.” You want to learn the fate of Linus’ blanket, Woodstock, and Lucy’s shrink stand. You want to giggle at the references to droll teachers and the philosophical truths and the sick dancing skills of the Peanuts gang in Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. Ladies and gentlemen, you get all of that in Dog.
Unfortunately for some, you also get a dump truck of dirty words: “Fucking,” “faggot,” “pussy, “camel toe,” “snatch,” and “bitch,” just to name a few. The show lost at least a dozen audience members early on with the line, “Give him head and let him cum on your tits.” Four more left when Linus (now known as Van) solicits a blow job from Sally (now just CB’s Sister).
It’s really kind of amusing to watch prudes leave, but they miss out. It isn’t until the final scene that you realize this whole show is a sugary memorial to the cartoon after all.
Dog Sees God: Confessions of A Teenage Blockhead * Piccolo Spoleto * 2 hours * $18/adults, $15/students, seniors * May 27 and June 1 at 8 p.m., May 28 and June 6 at 9 p.m. * Footlight Playhouse Theatre * (888) 374-2656
Note: Fixed the character name referenced in comments. Thanks, G.