I have learnt that if Tim offers me a spare ticket to a theatre show, I should say always say yes. Back in April, he text me to ask if I was interested in seeing Fun Home, and I hadn’t actually heard of it before but when I realised it was at the Young Vic, I was super excited. The only other play I have seen at the Young Vic was Yerma which was phenomenal, so if Fun Home was even 10% as good, then I was guaranteed a good evening.
Fortunately, it was fantastic (just ever so slightly less gut wrenching than Yerma).
Of course, I know who Alison Bechdel is, but I didn’t know much more about her than the basics – the comic book artist who has a very iconic test named after her. Fun Home is a musical adaptation of Alison’s memoir, and if you had described to me the subject of her memoir, I would have told you that I couldn’t see how this could possibly make a good musical (spoiler alert – that is wrong).
In the present day, Alison is drawing her memoirs and thinking back to two periods of her life – as a little girl living in Pennsylvania with her parents and two brothers, and as a freshman at college when she comes out amidst the shocking revelation that her Father is also gay.
I fell in love with every Alison – they all played her so perfectly and it’s hard to pick my favourite. I loved watching the older Alison watch the action on stage – picking apart her own memories with the benefit of hindsight, realising that her Dad wasn’t going out to get a newspaper or that he wasn’t just driving that boy home. Kaisa Hammarlund is captivating.
Eleanor Kane plays Medium Alison with just the right amount of awkwardness and naivety, falling in love with her first girlfriend and coming to terms with her Father’s sexuality at the same time as figuring out her own. Her first night with Joan was so beautiful, and my heart was right there with her as she sung about wanting to change her major to Joan.
Our Small Alison was played by Harriet Turnbull who absolutely slayed me with one line in particular – “Do you feel my heart saying hi” from Ring of Keys sung with such sweetness and yearning. Oh my gosh, I felt physically winded when I heard it!
There was a classic set trick which I won’t spoil as I think it’s more fun for the entire audience to gasp with delight when it’s revealed. The crew should be very proud with what they have created. The music was understated, but very in your face when it needed to be. Everything just worked. OK, so there wasn’t a happy ending, but sometimes you’re at a point in your life where a little sadness provides a bit of catharsis.
It’s on until September, so go see it!