Sunday, July 16, 2017

“Fun Home” Has a FuneREAL Sense of Humor! See It!


Kate Shindle as 'Alison,' Abby Corrigan as 'Medium Alison' and Carly Gold as 'Small Alison' in Fun Home  (Joan Marcus)
Fun Home
Seattle Repertory Theatre
Through July 30, 2017

You may not know about Alison Bechdel, or her graphic novel that took the graphic novel world by storm, as she drew about her unique family growing up in a funeral home. They called it the “fun home” for short, giving rise to her title. 

If you love theater and watch the Tonys, you might have seen a snippet of the musical, Fun Home, that is based on her not-so-fun life growing up with a tortured father who tried hard to give her everything he had but also passed along his self-hatred as he lived his own difficult life as a gay man in the closet.

Bechdel was able to acknowledge her much-easier-to-talk-about lesbianism by early college years. But because her father could not speak about it, even to himself, she didn’t even know he was gay until her mother revealed her wifely pain, watching her husband cheat on her with men, sometimes recklessly (with young teens).

The musical, winning a Best Musical Tony with a two-woman writing team, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, is a revelation! The tour, here for a few weeks, is Sublime! The cast is amazing, particularly vocally, and the book is tight and spare. It clocks in at about 100 minutes – straight through!

I particularly loved “medium” Alison and her amazing song about “changing my major to Joan”. Abby Corrigan is lovably dorky as she figures out that she’s “a dyke,” and falls instantly in love. The trio of Bechdel kids, Carly Gold, Luke Barbato Smith and Henry Bohart, are terrific and Gold puts over everything you could want as “small” Alison.

This is not a comedy. That is not to say there aren’t wonderful moments to laugh, like the aforementioned falling-in-love song. Those lyrics are adorable (rhyming “lying prone” with “Joan” and more). It’s a unique family story that could leave you limp with regret at the end.

For more information, call 206-625-1900 or go to www.5thavenue.org.