Performance Picks for June 30-July 6, 2017: family dramas (“Fun Home” and “Downstairs”) and a loose, fun riff on superheroes (“The Adventures of Rocketman and Beano”).

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Want to see a show? Each week, Seattle Times critics offer a few opinions. We haven’t seen them all, but here are excerpts from reviews and best guesses.



Seattle Times critic Dusty Somers writes: “The metaphor alarm sounds early in Theresa Rebeck’s new play, ‘Downstairs,’ a tightly compressed family drama set entirely in a partially unfinished basement. Teddy (Brandon Ryan) is crashing downstairs in the house owned by his sister Irene (Christine Marie Brown), and he keeps fiddling with a desktop computer Irene insists doesn’t work. OK, it’s broken, Teddy allows, but only a little. We get it, right? These are two people who have some fundamental issues that keep them from functioning healthily, but they’re going to be able to find a way forward. They’re only a little broken. The path has been mapped out for these two. Well, sort of … That hastiness blunts some of the play’s effectiveness, but only some. This is still a vivid depiction of the way a home can be either a comforting cocoon or a suffocating straitjacket. Sometimes it’s both.” Through July 9, ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle; $18-$25 (206-292-7676 or


“The Adventures of Rocketman and Beano”

Clowning, music and comic books with a couple splashes of Shakespeare — what else do you want from a night out? Christine Longé (who won an audience choice award at the Seattle Fringe Festival in 2014) and Tom Spangenberg perform, in their words, “an epic tale about friendship, adventure and good versus evil.” According to one YouTube trailer, the story “encapsulates what it means to be a superhero as well as a human. Though there might be an exception to that with the ark-nemesis situation. Or is it arch-nemesis?” “Rocketman and Beano” is a revival of runs that happened at the Pocket Theatre and the Fringe Festival. Through July 15, 18th & Union, 1406 18th Ave., Seattle; $12-$25 (866-811-4111 or


“Fun Home”

The popular graphic novel by Alison Bechdel — writer, artist, MacArthur “Genius” fellow and more — has been adapted into a musical coming to Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre after dates in Cleveland and Manila. The subject: growing up gay in a funeral home with a closeted father who was killed by a truck. (Bechdel suspects it was a secret suicide.) The musical has won a satchel of awards, including five Tonys. In The New York Times, Ben Brantley described it as a “beautiful heartbreaker … ‘Fun Home’ isn’t just a coming-out story or a coming-of-age story. Its universality comes from its awareness of how we never fully know even those closest to us, and of the undercurrent of grown-up secrets, intuited by children, that exists to some degree in every family.” July 11-30, 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., Seattle; $36-$141 (206-625-1900 or