Thought-provoking & poignant: ‘Fun Home’ is a great blend of comedy and drama

Reviewed by Anna Katherine Carey
Times-News correspondent

   ”Fun Home” is the perfect blend of humor and emotion.
The five-time Tony Award winner will be performed today through Sunday at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), 123 Vivian St., Durham. With songs ranging from lighthearted and humorous to thought-provoking and poignant, this show will take the audience on an emotional journey through Allison Bechdel’s life.
The show opens with Grown Alison, played by Kate Shindle, rummaging through a box of her dad’s old things, trying to remember moments of her life while writing her graphic novel memoir. Her dad Bruce, played by Robert Petkoff, and Small Alison, played by Alessandra Baldacchino, join her onstage as she reminisces about her childhood. The show then moves to Small Alison and her brothers playing in the family’s funeral home — which they refer to as the Fun Home. Small Alison has grown into Medium Alison, played by Abby Corrigan, and is now at college and struggling with her sexuality. She meets Joan, played by Karen Eilbacher, and truly begins to discover herself. Medium Alison is left to eagerly await her parents’ response to her coming out.
   The songs drive the show, and their powerful lyrics tell the story. Songs such as “Come to the Fun Home” and “Changing my Major” are funny and offer comic relief. “Days and Days” and “Telephone Wire” offer more insight into the dysfunctional aspects of the Bechdel family. All actors in the small cast are incredibly strong in their roles. Standouts include Robert Hager, who plays numerous characters in different scenes. The three Alisons act so much alike, creating the illusion of them being the same person.
From the outside, many families seem to have it all together, but behind closed doors things aren’t so perfect. “Fun Home” shows that a family striving for perfection won’t last. Relationships between parents and children can become strained and marriages can fall apart.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. today; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $35 to $160. For more details, visit www.dpacnc.com or call 919-680-2787
   NOTE: Because of the nature of the show, parental discretion is advised. Recommended age is 12 and up.

Anna Katherine Carey is a home-schooled senior who attends Alamance Community College and a Teens & 20s writer.

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