Fun Home – Review by Marlene S. Gaylinn

The Tony Award-winning play “Fun Home,” currently at Norwalk’s Music Theatre of CT (MTC) features music by Jeanine Tesori, Book & Lyrics by Lisa Kron, and is based on the autobiographical novel of Alison Bechdel. For those who may travel in different circles, Bechdel is noted for her cartoon strip, “Dykes to Watch Out For.” This play is about Bechdel’s dysfunctional family, her coming of age, her overbearing father’s suicide, and the secret suffering of individuals whose sexual orientation deviates from the prevailing society.

Bechdel’s book was on the “Best Seller List” of “The N.Y. Times” and since the “Fun Home” play with music was written and produced solely by women, its awards were considered to be a rare accomplishment in the theatre world. It follows that Bechdel’s philosophy is, “The secret subversive goal of my work is to show that women, not just lesbians are regular human beings.” That’s all you need to know about “Fun Home” except for the fact that this work is not only about women. It’s about family relationships and title its title is a misnomer. Unless you consider playing “hide and seek” among the coffins of her family’s funeral business briefly amusing, there’s nothing much “fun” about Alison’s regimented home life.

This last play of the season is directed by Kevin Connors and features a live orchestra directed by Thomas Conroy. The mood music and songs are poignant and rendered beautifully, but their titles were unlisted in the program. The very believable cast features: Amy Griffin (Alison), Megan O’Callaghan (Medium Alison), Caitly Kops (Young Alison), Greg Roderick and Raissa Katona Bennett (The Parents), Ari and Jonah Frimmer (two young brothers), Anthony Crouchelli (Roy/Mark/Pete) and Abigail Root (Joan).

Unfortunately, cartoonist Alison (Griffin) acting as the play’s narrator and main character, was seated in a corner of the level performing area during the majority of the time. Her back and the large, upright drawing board blocked a section of the audience from viewing and comprehending much of the play’s actions. Never the less, the story unfolds in a series of flashbacks regarding Alison’s childhood, her sexual awakening and family frustrations and revelations. How you react to this work is based on your own experiences. As to be expected, the three child actors sang, danced and stole the show, while the theatre’s loyal audience gave it a standing ovation.

Plays to May 6 Tickets: 203-454-3883