Maybe I’m just a bad person, but I didn’t find anything about this ultra-wholesome, ‘inspirational’ piece of childlike philosophy remotely entertaining. In fact, I found it tedious, cutesy, and tooth-rottingly saccharine. I haven’t read the book it’s based on, so I can’t comment on it, but this musical didn’t exactly encourage me to rush out and buy it.
The show’s cast may consist of actual children, but it plays rather like You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown without the humor. There’s none of the wry wit that Charles Schultz displayed when he dealt with this kind of thing…just shallow sentimentality and navel-gazing pseudo-introspection.
For all the praise it got for its ‘honesty’, the show actually has rather condescending, ‘kids say the darndest things’ approach to the naïve concerns of young children, and it doesn’t help that the lyrics generally don’t sound remotely similar to the way real kids talk.
Even the music, while occasionally pretty, is tedious and mediocre…it tries for drama in places, like the ‘pet funeral’ number “Questions for the Rain” or the melodramatic “How Come?”, but even those numbers are too lightweight to have much of an impact.
Look, there’s a reason Bil Keane’s Family Circus is a target of scorn and mockery the world over, and this is really just a staged version of it. There are apparently those who got something out of it, but I don’t really recommend it.