The title of this post may have caught you off guard. No, I’m not a lesbian cartoonist, nor do I play one on TV. Nope, not me.
However, my oldest daughter, Allana, is our residential lesbian cartoonist. While I’ve never shared her coming out story, her dad and I were and still are very accepting, understanding and supportive of our daughter. Someday, I’ll share her story or maybe she will write that blog post for me because it’s not my story to tell.
For now, Allana shares her FUN HOME review - A Story About a Lesbian Cartoonist, Reviewed by a Lesbian Cartoonist.
We brainstormed some alternative titles for this post, such as For a Play That’s Titled ‘FUN HOME’ I Sure Was Crying a Lot But honestly, we thought the chosen title seemed more fitting and funny. In a nutshell, we loved FUN HOME for so many relatable reasons, but I let Allana share a more eloquent review.
A soft stage-light glow radiates into the audience, curtains are pulled back, and I shuffle into my seat, trying to suppress my chuckles as I read the words ‘THE GAY UNION’ written on a sign, taped to an office door. Minutes later, the lights dim, and a spot light emerges on the stage. Cary Gold comes onstage as ‘Small Alison’, and sings a happy song about playing airplane and discovering the wonders of dead mice and antiques with her father Bruce- played by Robert Petkoff. With a smile on my face, I thought “Aw this is a cute, happy-go-lucky musical! I can’t wait to see what sort of shenanigans the characters get up to!”
Past me, you were a fool for thinking you could make it through a musical without bawling your eyes out! Bruce utterly wrecked me, leaving me shriveled ball of messy feelings when the musical came to a close. His song Edges of the World left such a crisp picture in my mind, I can feel my heart aching just thinking about it. Tears sprang to my eyes as FUN HOME quickly became anything but. Helen (Susan Moniz) had a solo that punched me in the gut, her voice strong and radiant. Raincoat of Love started happy, but as I realized what was actually going on while Small Alison escaped to her dream reality, my heart broke. The song’s last few lines made me scream for a better conclusion, and as the rest played out I slowly gained a grip on how tragic- and beautiful -the story was.
FUN HOME is a brilliant depiction of the struggles of the LGBT+ community, while still being an altogether relatable, and enjoyable, experience. Though the musical was indeed sad, I do hope this doesn’t discourage any eager viewers to watch it. I promise. There’s comedy too!
I enjoyed FUN HOME from the start, but what really got me hooked was when Kate Shindle came on stage as Alison, and said: “My Dad and I both grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town. And he was gay. And I was gay. And he killed himself. And I… became a lesbian cartoonist.”
I couldn’t help the snort that escaped my mouth, and I physically had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing. As a fellow ‘lesbian cartoonist’ I instantly latched onto Alison’s character, she made me laugh harder than anyone else, and made me cry almost as much. Kate’s performance was stunning, and Abby Corrigan’s portrayal of ‘Medium Alison’ was relatable in every way. ‘Changing My Major’ is still stuck in my head. (If I could, I would change my major to Joan too. Victoria Janicki was gorgeous!!) Not only was Medium Alison’s way of coming out relatable, but her poise, her clothes, her songs, her story, it was perfect. She was perfect.
Finally, a musical about young, gay, love without killing off any of the young, gay, lovers. (I’m looking at you, Rent.) Jokes aside, I feel the musical will hit close to (Fun) home for anyone; be it gay, straight, young, or old.