On Friday night I drove a van full of Hiram theater peeps to Cleveland to see a performance of “Fun Home” at Playhouse Square. In spite of rush-hour traffic and an impossibly tight squeeze into a parking garage, we made it to our seats with about ten comfortable minutes to spare. A friend of mine and I were particularly anxious about seeing the performance, since we had read the graphic novel of the same name from which the play was adapted; we weren’t sure how the content of the book would work as a play, let alone a musical.
Here we are after the show!
We were highly satisfied. The songs were all great—some heartrending, some hilarious—and all performed flawlessly by the cast. The play itself stayed true to the most important aspects of the book, such as Alison Bechdel’s lesbian awakening in college and the complexity of a family whose patriarch secretly (to the kids, at least) gay. While the play did remove a lot of the book’s content, especially from the mother’s story, it was able to keep the most central and necessary pieces so that the story remained the same, namely Alison’s relationship with her father. The use of three actresses for Alison Bechdel (Small Alison, Medium Alison, and Alison, as listed in the program) was another interesting choice that ultimately worked very well—the actresses were often on stage with one another at the same time, with Alison at her desk observing and drawing the events that unfolded before her, and at times commenting on them.
I think “Fun Home” has to be the best theater performance I’ve seen; I was never confused or bored, and even though there wasn’t an intermission, I didn’t feel fatigued after it was finished. In fact, I wanted more! So, while the play is touring, I highly recommend seeing it. It’ll be in Cleveland until October 22, after which it’ll be headed to North Carolina. Ohio, get your tickets now!