The Young Vic Has Finally Come Of Age With Fun Home

Fun Home, Young Vic ★★★★★

By Johnny Fox Last edited 8 months ago

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The Young Vic Has Finally Come Of Age With Fun Home Fun Home, Young Vic 5
Photo: Marc Brenner

At last, the Young Vic has come of age. Fun Home marks one of the best productions it has housed, and breaks new ground for musical theatre.

Fun Home charts the real life steady progress of tomboy-to-confident-lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel towards coming out — which coincides with the day her secretly-gay funeral director father steps into the path of an oncoming truck.

Photo: Marc Brenner

Carrying such brutal material needs a mature and sophisticated treatment, and both the score and the script in Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s collaboration rise magnificently to the occasion.

Distilled from its 2015 Broadway outing, Sam Gold’s production is fluid, and tender, and beautifully lit and designed. It proves the perfect framework for a shining cast — Kaisa Hammarlund taut, observant, and powerful as the adult Alison, with Eleanor Kane and Brooke Haynes (on press night) superbly sharing the role of her younger selves. Haynes is a star to be, Kane equally on the brink: her solo ‘I’m Changing My Major to Joan’ is just one highlight among so many in the show.

Photo: Marc Brenner

As its still centre, Alison’s mother, Jenna Russell excels in the most demanding role, contained within her cloak of regret and pain, releasing it into a powerfully angry ‘Days and Days’.  The quality of Zubin Varla’s performance as Alison’s father Bruce is that it’s almost too uncomfortable to watch.

Songs grow from the narrative line — they don’t fit any known Broadway pattern, and this complexity keeps you more engaged with the story and characters.

Did we mention three kids do a dance number on a coffin? What’s not to love?

Fun Home, Young Vic, The Cut, SE1.  Tickets £10-40, until 1 September 2018.

Last Updated 29 June 2018