Sunday, January 08, 2017

Fun Home - musical at the Smith Center

Based on a graphic novel about a lesbian growing up in a funeral home with a controlling, closeted gay father who kills himself, Fun Home is surely one of the more unusual stories to be made into a musical. The story itself is compelling, funny, awkward, and, at times, incredibly moving, but there were times that the musical numbers seemed a bit forced, even in the context of a musical where people randomly break into song.

That said, the actors all have excellent voices and I did truly enjoy the songs that had several people harmonizing on different lines - caught up in their own personal story and not necessarily listening to the others. The stage setting is fairly minimal, but the lighting was extraordinary - it alone gave the stage wildly different feels and was an integral part of the play.

The story is simultaneously joyous and sad, as the daughter finds herself and becomes complete while the father loses himself and his marriage and, eventually, his life. Allison, the daughter, is shown as a child, as a college student who comes out as gay and as the adult who is creating the graphic novel - sometimes all three interacting together, which worked to good effect.

Something, somehow, didn't quite work for me 100% with the musical, but I did still enjoy it and it was an emotional experience. I would, however, highly recommend the graphic noel of the same name.