It’s Christmas, Snoopy! On Ice. At the Arlington Theatre, Saturday, December 2.
Reviewed by Michelle Drown
I’m a big Snoopy fan, so when I heard the feisty dog was coming to Santa Barbara as part of an ice skating performance, I jumped at the chance to see the show. Last Saturday, with my wee niece and nephew at my side, I settled into my seat at the Arlington ready to be swept away by the magic of Charles Schulz’s beloved beagle come to life — on ice, no less.
As the lights dimmed, the audience clapped and hooted with excitement. The show was tip-top from the start. Snowflakes and colorful lights dappled the rink, providing a festive feel as skaters gracefully glided onto the ice in dazzling costumes, spinning and dancing while Christmas music filled the theater. Then there was Snoopy — he was stuffed-animal cute, and the skater inside the costume imbued the pooch with a perfect mix of whimsical charm and rascally attitude.
The performance consisted of two acts, each comprising five stories with such titles as “Snoopy in the City,” “Toys and Dolls,” and “Snoopy and the Snowmen” (which was particularly amusing). Each skit required costume changes, providing the audience with continuing visual delights. During the “Candyland” number, my niece leaned over to whisper that she would very much like a dress made out of giant pink hard candies just like the one twirling about onstage. All the skaters in the show were pros, but a few stood out: pair skaters Melanie Lambert and Fred Palascak did some heart-stopping combinations, and Matt Kessinger’s skill and athleticism were particularly impressive.
Although It’s Christmas, Snoopy! has run for some 25 years in Santa Rosa, this was the first time Santa Barbarans were privy to the cool fun, thanks to the cartoonist’s daughter, Montecito resident Jill Schulz. The original production was started by Charles Schulz himself, who once said: “The thing I enjoy most of all, even more than drawing cartoons, is putting together an ice show. … I think that is the ultimate in happiness.” From the look of the bright, smiling faces leaving the Arlington after the show, I’d say Schulz was right. n