I'm Changing My Major to Joan! FUN HOME at the Circle In The Square, NYC

After literally months and months of not writing my notes for this review into a proper post for absolutely no reason at all, I finally bring you my review on FUN HOME, which is playing at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway. I went and saw the show on my trip to New York in June and was lucky enough to see the entire Original Broadway cast a week after their big wins.

At the Tony Awards, they won: Best Score, Best Book, Best Leading Actor for Michael Cerveris, Best Direction and Best Musical. Of course the show was out of this world and even better than I was initially anticipating it to be (which was a lot as it was), but what exactly makes this show the fantastic piece of theatre that it really is?...

Yes. Fun Home really lives up to the Tony-winning Best Musical title that it earned for itself back in June of this year and seeing it a week after its big win, you could feel that hype and excitement surrounding the show in the room. I was also lucky enough to see the entire Original Broadway Cast on this Sunday afternoon, so I got to experience the cast album that I'd fallen in love with in a fully authentic way live on stage - something I very rarely get to experience, and something that was happening for the second time in my life in a Broadway theatre (first being Something Rotten!). There's something so captivating and stuning about the score to this show, which is written by my favourite modern composer Jeanine Tesori, and the beautiful lyrics by actor-turned-lyricist Lisa Kron add to that grandeur. It's a sound that is presented perfectly on the cast album, but is unrivaled in how authentic it is to hear it live in a Broadway theatre. We were actually lucky enough to have our seats right next to the band - so close that I could follow the score over the pianist's shoulder as he played along! That in itself added to the intimacy of the show, which is hightened greatly by being performed in-the-round at the Circle in the Square.

The gorgeous design of the show by Patrick Willingham is so unique that it makes Fun Home so much more of a personal experience. Presented in-the-round after its transfer from the off-Broadway Public Theater, it's fascinating to see just how many hundreds of lights are fitted to the rig above the stage and how the band (who are all sat to one side of the stage) manage to spread the sound around the entire room. Scene changes were also really interesting and is something that interested my dad, an ex-set builder, a great deal; seeing a full grand piano and other items ascend and descend under ground via trap door, to simply reappear on the other side of the stage via trap door moments later was magical. The same goes for the sudden opening of the Rainbow of Love scene: Young Alison sits on the sofa watching television when a sudden cloud of smoke enters and three of the actors ascend on a platform in the middle of the stage. It's a moment that is so comical yet significant and really highlighted how creatively daring Fun Home actually is.

The amazingly talented cast also help to add to the moving and intimate affect of the show. In fact, almost all of the cast were nominated for Tony Awards this year because of their performances - all five eligible cast members were nominated with Michael Cerveris being the only one to take home a prize for his performance. His portrayl of Alison's father, in a story that centers around Alison's coming of age and exploration of her sexuality in parallel with her father's realisation of his homosexuality, is beautiful and his big number near the end of the show is the most harrowing thing in the entire performance. Judy Kuhn's portrayl of Alison's mother is equally heartbreaking and it's interesting to see how her character doesn't change throughout the play, despite the fact that Alison has grown up along the way. It reminded me of how the older members of my family have always been the same in my eyes, and it was nice to think of family as being such a solid constant. Beth Malone, Emily Skeggs and Sydney Lucas all share the role of Alison at three different points throughout her life though and they all clearly steal the show with their portrayls; all of the women successfully make a single coherent character, yet every one of them makes Alison so unique and different to highlight her change as a person. It's a gorgeous and daring character (who is obviously an entirely real person) and it's the kind of performance I very rarely see in a show.

All in all, yes, Fun Home really is worth the Tony winning hype that surrounds its fantastic success. It's a show with great heart and passion (a combination that the modern musical theatre scene really seems to lack) and utilises modern live performance in a way like no other.

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