Fun Home – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Alison Bechdel did not grow up as a member of the Brady Bunch or the Partridge Family. It took her years to discover who she was and how she fit into her family unit, especially as it related to her enigmatic dad. To learn the answers to Alison’s past, please attend Theater Works Hartford’s amazing dramatic musical journey “Fun Home” now extended until Sunday, November 6, with book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori.

“Fun Home” was adapted from Alison Bechdel’s cartoon driven graphic novel of the same name. In it you meet her at three distinct ages: childhood Skylar Lynn Matthews, her first year of college Julia Nightingale and as a middle-aged adult Sarah Beth Pfeifer. All are gifted in their portraits as they look back and evaluate the past.

Imagine growing up in a funeral home and playing hide and seek with your siblings (Myles Low and Sam Duncan and after 10/16 Jasper Burger) among the caskets that crowd your living space. Memories, both pleasant and painful, populate her story. She fondly remembers her father Bruce, a conflicted Aaron Lazar, who lovingly restored their Victorian house, playing “airplane” with her and alternately how her mother Helen, a supportive Christiane Noll, would play the piano louder and louder to drown out the sounds of her husband seducing a young man in the room below.

Her father hid his sexuality, even when Alison goes off to college and realizes she is a lesbian, after meeting her new partner Joan, the reflective Cameron Silliman. Songs like “It All Comes Back,” Not Too Bad,” “Come to the Fun Home,”
‘’Maps,” ‘’Raincoat of Love,” “Ring of Keys” and “Telephone Wire” reveal many of the stumbling blocks that Alison must overcome on her path of self-discovery. Various young men in the cast are portrayed by Ali Louis Bourzoui. Rob Ruggiero directs this passionate pouring out of self-power.

For tickets ($25-60), call TWH, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford at 860-527-7838 or online at Performances are Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. (with talk back), Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. (mask required), Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (mask required) and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Take a personal and poignant path along with Alison as she struggles to learn who her father was and how their lives interacted in this Tony Award-Winning Musical.