Petrucci's Dinner Theater on Main Street in Laurel recently opened its final show of the season, the musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." The show will play through Aug. 10.

The atmosphere at this family-run enterprise is as appealing as ever. Friendly Petruccis of all ages offer a relaxed welcome and ensure that the food has a tasty, home-cooked quality.

The new production needs to borrow some of the staff's low-key approach. "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" is basically a slight offering, loosely stringing together a series of episodes drawn from the comic strip. To work, it needs the lightest of touches and a deft sense of comic timing.

At the moment, Petrucci's bright and energetic cast is simply trying too hard. Many a humorous line goes to waste due to overanticipation and excessive preparation. The cast could also set up a better context for the comedy if it devoted more thought to the underlying human qualities each character represents rather than to sparkling projection of the words.

The set, with its bold black lines and primary colors, is excellent. Use of oversized props, such as a giant sandwhich and huge pencils, is a clever touch. Each member of the cast looks right for the part and has moments when he or she captures the feeling of the play, signs that in time production may settle down.

Performances are Thursday through Sunday nights with special matinees on June 14 and July 19. For ticket information and show times, which vary, call 725-5226. For next season, there will be five comedies beginning with "Forty Carats" in the first week of September. Petrucci's has appointed a new artistic director, Fay Jacobs.