Sunday, March 29, 2020
‘Fun Home’ Walks Tightrope Between Fun and Heartbreaking
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Lizzie Loving takes turns playing Small Alison with Ida Belle Gorby.
 
Monday, January 27, 2020
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE SPOT

“My father is just like me,” the young woman in “Fun Home” introduces herself.

Then, she adds, “My father is nothing like me.”

 
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Kevin Wade plays Bobby Jeremy.
 

Contradictions abound in “Fun Home,” the Tony-winning musical that The Spot is staging this week.

And they add a level of complexity to the musical as the audience becomes privy to the questions, eccentricities and sometimes heart wrenching drama surrounding the Bechdel family.

The musical directed by Brett Moellenberg with music direction by R.L. Rowsey, opened on Thursday and continues through Saturday, Feb. 1.

It’s based on the graphic memoir of Alison Bechdel, told from her point of view as she watches her young self and college self strive to win the approval of her father who can at times be fun and loving and at other times hostile.

 
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Ida Belle Gorby, as Small Alison, shares a moment with her father played by Rusty Ferracane.
 

“We grew up in a small Pennsylvania town and he was gay and I was gay, and he killed himself and I became a lesbian cartoonist,” the older Alison reflects at the musical’s beginning.

Though the audience is told up front how the play will end, the play offers light moments, starting with the mother played by Sara Gorby leading the children in a chorus of “He wants…” as she hands out the Lemon Pledge furniture polish.

Then there’s the not-to-be-missed scene as the children climb into an empty casket in the funeral home their father owns, inventing a commercial advertising their dad’s livelihood in a song reminiscent of something the Jackson Five would do.

Actors must work as clockwork as the can of Pledge turns into the mic for the youngster standing on top of the coffin.

“Fun Home” is a whirlwind as Alison jumps back and forth between her childhood and college.

Rusty Ferracane does a masterful job as the dad who hoists his daughter in the air as they play Superman one moment, turning into a rigid perfectionist who pushes his children to follow rules rather than encouraging their creativity the next moment.

Vanessa Sterling does a nice job of setting the stage from a young girl who implores her father to listen only to implore him to “Say something to me—anything!” in her later years.

Both Lizzie Loving and Ida Belle Gorby, who trades off with Loving, do bang-up jobs in their portrayals of young Alison. And Megan Mahoney clicks as a naïve young college student coming into her own with the help of a more experienced, self-assured Gay Union member played by Spenser Pfau.

Harrison Black is darling as a younger brother alongside Rylee Brown, while Kevin Wade does his usual polished job of spinning through a variety of characters, each with their own persona.

IF YOU GO:

What: “Fun Home”

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Jan. 28-Feb. 1. Also, 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1.

Where: The Spot, 220 Lewis St., Ketchum

Tickets: $30 for general audience and $13 for those under 30, available at www.spotsunvalley.com. There will be complimentary concessions—donations are appreciated.


 

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