Monday, 18 April 2016

Broadway Review: Fun Home at Circle in the Square

Fun Home
Circle in the Square
Reviewed on Thursday 24th March 2016

Adapted from Alison Bechdel's 2006 memoir, Fun Home is a truly exceptional piece of theatre. Three actresses play Alison at three different stages in her life, allowing us to delve into her relationship with her gay father, coming to terms with her own sexuality and how she grows up to become an inspiring woman.

Circle in the Square is a Broadway theatre set entirely in the round - we need a mainstream West End theatre like this in London! Sam Gold's production embraces the art of storytelling; some set is raised up and down onto the stage but overall the design is pretty simple yet effective. Adapted for the stage by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesor, Fun Home is raw and filled with honesty. It's a show about reflection; it's touching to watch Alison look back at her younger selves. 

Interestingly I listened to the cast album prior to seeing the show and couldn't get into it, but the second the show began everything clicked into place. Kron's lyrics tell Alison's story beautifully. The three kids in the show (small Alison and her two brothers) steal the spotlight with their performance of 'Come to the Fun Home'. 

Later small Alison, played by the terrific Gabriella Pizzolo, sings the heartfelt number 'Ring of Keys'. Pizzolo's performance was astounding, she is wise beyond her years. Lauren Patten excelled as medium Alison; Patten aced the funniest song of the evening, 'Changing My Major', which comes when Alison falls madly in love with her friend Joan. Patten's rendition went down a storm. Beth Malone plays older Alison with such heart. The cast is small, but everyone fully commits to the style.

It's so thrilling to see a show like Fun Home receiving such huge acclaim on Broadway and winning a Tony Award for Best Musical. Fun Home needs to come to London, but sadly I don't think the West End is ready for a show as creative as this. Instead it would work perfectly at somewhere like the Menier Chocolate Factory. Fun Home is certainly a breakthrough show - remarkably it's the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist! Utilising the art of storytelling and the magic of theatre, Fun Home is an absolute must-see if you’re in New York.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Fun Home Plays at Circle in the Square (235 West 50th Street).
Please visit for information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

No comments:

Post a Comment