By Dennis Maddux-Phillips, guest reviewer
While the citizens of KC are reveling in Chiefs ‘ Fever, the patrons of KCREP have reasons to stand up and cheer for a different kind of ‘Homes: the outstanding production of “Fun Home.”
However, put on your thinking cap and grab lots of Kleenex before heading to the theatre. This is not your mother’s Roger and Hammerstein musical. Based on a graphic novel and the #1 New York Times Top Ten Books of 2006, the 2012 musical is a beautiful memory play about growing up a family run funeral home, or fun home, as the children name it.
There are lots of chances to laugh, but be prepared for a complex, emotional journey through a lesbian’s reflection of her life. Right from the start, the grown up version of herself tells the audience where the tale tragically ends. Alison is superbly portrayed by three actresses, with the fully grown Alison acting as a narrator/overseer as she weaves herself throughout the story.
Small Alison, explores the exciting and inquisitive excitement in coming of age. She’s delightfully portrayed by the young dynamo, Delilah Rose Pellow. With the exuberant energy of her brothers (Drew Squire and Patrick McGee), they hilariously rehearse a commercial for their father’s business in the parlor. Her amazing depth is also displayed in “Ring of Keys,” after her first sighting of a lesbian delivery woman.
Ellen Soraya Nikbakht, Medium Alison, comically and awkwardly handles the story of her coming out in college during the politically charged 70’s. As her first love, Joan, Allison Jones, cooly and confidently helps Alison decide to begin “Changing my Major” to Joan.
The stand-out in this incredibly talented ensemble is Lauren Braton, Grown Alison, who gives us the coming to terms stage of her life. Not only can she command our attention with her desperate pleading in “Telephone Wire,” but her silent observations hold the saga together. The parents of the tribe, richly interpreted by Jonathan Raviv and Mariand Torres, simply excel in providing us the behind the scene complexities of existing through their facades. “Days and Days” rises to the pinnacle of perfection. Noah Lindquist rounds out the cast by perfectly disappearing in a variety of roles.
However, the true star of the show is the jaw-dropping scenic design from Regina Garcia. It becomes a key component and character as it twirls and carries the audience through Alison’s mind. Director Lisa Rothe has masterfully captured every key component, and Anthony T. Edwards beautifully accentuates it with his gentle orchestrations.
Simply put, this is Broadway at its best in Kansas City.
Get tickets now for the remaining shows Feb. 4-16 at Kansas City Rep. Tickets can be purchased through the KC Rep website.
Tags: “Fun Home” review, KC Rep, Kansas City Theatre, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment