Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fun Home, the musical

I wasn't sure what to expect from the musical Fun Home. Based on Alison Bechdel's amazing graphic novel (which I gobbled up five years ago), the play explores Alison's childhood and her time at college. Like the memoir, it is interspersed with the grown Alison working through the process of writing about and coming to terms with her past. It centers on the power her father had over her family, particularly the impact of his shame and repressed sexuality.

The play does a marvelous job of creating the sense that memory and the present are intertwined. It moves effortlessly back and forth through the different phases of her life, and from the opening scene to the closing it is heartfelt and deeply moving.

It took me a little bit of time to adjust to the musical aspect of Fun Home. I guess I was momentarily thrown. But once I relaxed with it I enjoyed the music and the way it moved the narrative. All of the actors were wonderful. I was particularly impressed with Beth Malone, as the adult Alison, and Sydney Lucas as the young Alison. She was an emotionally powerful child performer, with a voice as clear as a bell. Michael Cerveris was also fabulous as as her poignantly complex, difficult, and sad father.

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