Fun Home, The Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ
With a book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori, Fun Home is a musical adapted from the graphic novel/memoirs titled Fun Home: A family Tragicomic by American lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel.
Winner of 5 Tony awards in 2015 including best director and best musical, Fun home makes its UK premiere at the Young Vic for a sell-out limited run.
Using a series of vignettes, which are narrated by adult Alison who introduces each vignette with the word “caption”, Fun Home tells the story of Bechdel’s experiences of coming to terms with her sexuality and her struggle to make sense of her relationship with her often distant father. Bruce Bechdel is a complicated character, college lecturer, historical house restorer and proprietor of a funeral home referred to by his children as the Fun Home.
Director Sam Gold has created a masterpiece of theatre that is unforgettable and will not be out of place at the next Olivier Awards.
David Zinn’s creative set design is illustrated perfectly in the scene when Bruce and his children visit New York. A white wall appears across the stage creating a small bleak hotel room, where all three children lie on the floor in sleeping bags. The wall is then raised to reveal the magnificent historically restored house on “Maple avenue”. The stage appears to be vast and full of antique furniture, ornaments and gilt edged pictures, transporting the audience into a museum type environment that is the Bechdel family home.
Jeanine Tesori’s score, played skilfully by the talented band of 6 musicians under the direction of Nigel Lilley, is beautiful and haunting, notes appear to hang in the air of the auditorium before softly drifting away.
Zubin Varla is superb as arrogant, unpredictable, angry, Bruce Bechdel, as he struggles with his own sexuality and the pressure of trying to live a family life. Zubin captivated the audience and helped them to understand Bruce’s anguish and actions with what could be an award winning performance.
Jenna Russell is outstanding as Helen Bechdel, who spends most of the production in the background unnoticed by the audience until the delivery of the number Days and days. The song is a release of the years of humiliation, suffering, hurt and unhappiness experienced during her marriage. Russell’s beautiful voice, packed with emotion, filled the auditorium reducing me to tears.
Harriet Turnbull is excellent in the role of small Alison. In particular, her delivery of Ring of Keys stood out on the day as she sang with conviction, emotion and power, resulting in a marvellous performance.
Eleanor Kane is outstanding as the awkward, kooky, sincere college student (medium) Alison. Kane’s delivery of I am changing my major to Joan is the perfect portrayal of a young woman finally confident in herself and with her sexuality.
Kaisa Hammarlund is exceptional as adult Alison. She is constantly on stage reflecting and struggling to piece together the events and relationships in her life. Hammarlund’s delivery of Telephone wire sung with passion and emotion gave me goosebumps.
The supporting cast were also fabulous and ensured that Fun Home was an easy instantaneous standing ovation.
Fun Home is an outstanding, unique, emotional, memorable piece of theatre which thoroughly deserves a transfer to the West End.
Fun home runs at the Young Vic until 1st September 2018.
A tragicomic masterpiece
We say: “Fun Home is an outstanding, unique, emotional, memorable piece of theatre which thoroughly deserves a transfer to the West End. It is a tragicomic masterpiece!”