Based on the beloved Comic Strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz ‘You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown’ premiered off-Broadway in the late 60s.

With a London premiere taking over 40 years to happen and this Gatehouse revival following over a decade later, the delay is surprising given Snoopy’s superstar cache.

But this experimental musical with book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner is the festive gift that keeps on giving in the right hands, and director Amanda Noar keeps a brilliantly tight rein on its wistful re-workings of the original cartoons.

Ham & High: Oliver Sidney as Snoopy in You're A Good Man Charlie BrownOliver Sidney as Snoopy in You're A Good Man Charlie Brown (Image: Simon Jackson)

Unlike the 2015 Peanuts Movie, there’s no narrative flow here. Schulz’s profound musings on the meaning of life are voiced through a group of wide-eyed suburban Minneapolis kids growing up in the 1950s alongside their laconic yet devoted dog, Snoopy.

Scenes are often dizzyingly brief and fantastically anarchic. They revolve around events: a baseball game, the bus ride to school, choir practice for assembly, declaring crushes – never requited, of course, given the covert fatalism in Schulz’s writing.

Charlie Brown is a good man, his friends reassure him in a fresh titular number, but he can’t fly a kite, he doesn’t head up sports teams, he’s just not the leading man, even in his own life. In fact, even Charlie doesn’t believe the Little Red-Haired Girl he adores will ever notice him.

Ham & High: The show runs at the Highgate venue until January 14.The show runs at the Highgate venue until January 14. (Image: Simon Jackson)

The ensemble is exceptional. Inner angst and exaggerated social behaviour is played with pitch-perfect precision; it’s all a question of disguising vulnerabilities. Or not.

Thumb-sucking, lisping Linus (Jacob Cornish) deserves a special mention and his duet with his beloved blanket is joyous. The episodic structure takes a while to bed in and Snoopy fans may balk initially at seeing him played as a debonair man.

Yes, no ears! But the design is delightful. Schulz’s distinctive visual world is conjured through floating images and sparely used objects: squiggles on t-shirts or cartoon captions held aloft. Snoopy’s (Oliver Sidney) response to Charlie’s put-down that he needn’t make such a production over mealtimes is genius.Ham & High: Eleanor Fransch and Troy Yip in You're A Good Man Charlie BrownEleanor Fransch and Troy Yip in You're A Good Man Charlie Brown (Image: Simon Jackson)

Emerging from his kennel in a sparkly tux, Snoopy belts out the showstopper Suppertime - a top dog in every sense.

You're A Good Man Charlie Brown runs Upstairs at The Gatehouse in Highgate until January 14.