Fun Home, the Musical

by Niamh Byrne

The Gate Theatre, located on Cavendish Row, is a beautiful old-fashioned theatre which was founded by Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir in 1928. During the duos first season, they presented seven plays, including Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, Eugene O’ Neills’ The Hairy Ape and Oscar Wilde’s Salome. As I’d never stepped foot inside the theatre before and only recently visited the Abbey, I felt obliged to see a play on its famous stage. Hearing a lot of positive feedback about the production of ‘Fun Home’ and a recommendation from a friend, I decided to go along to see it. While the production was 12 plus, the audience was really diverse, attracting people of all ages.

Fun Home is a musical theatre production based on Alison Bechdel’s 2006 memoir which shares the
same name, while the music featured in the production is written by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Lisa Kron.

Fun Home at The Gate Theatre (Photo: Ros Kavanagh)

The musical first opened off Broadway at the public theatre in September 2013 and received positive reviews. Its run was then extended several times until January It won five Tony Awards including best musical, best score, and best book. Based upon Alison’s life, the story shows her grow from a young child to an adult. Bechdel who then goes on to discover her own sexuality, realises her father is a closeted gay man with a lot of secrets. She tries to unravel her father’s problems by trying to help him. Although the musical holds serious, realistic features, it also has a comedic side which added to its enjoyment. In this new production directed by Róisín McBrinn, Killian Donnelly and Nichola MacEvilly play Alison’s father and mother Bruce and Helen Bechdel. While Frances Mc Namee, Orla Scally, Chloe Cody and Jodi Kaye all share the part of Alison throughout her life. Adding to the enjoyment the cast really shone playing their characters. Even though I didn’t recognize any of the songs performed, there was never a dull moment and they were well suited to the problems in the musical and were sung to perfection by the cast.

Fun Home, which is approximately 90 minutes long runs from the 1st of July until the 26th of August 2023. Tickets start at €15. If you are a theatre goer or just looking to see a musical or something
new, I would definitely recommend this one.