Performance Picks for July 21-27: finding the silver linings in angst, from UMO’s “Resistance Cabaret” to “Cthulhu: The Musical” to the funeral-home musical “Fun Home.”
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 Misha Berson writes about this musical based on a cartoonist’s memories of growing up in a funeral home with a closeted father: “One can tag this extraordinary show, based on cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s probing graphic memoir of the same title, a seriocomic lesbian coming-out story. Or a study of the effects of homophobia in Middle America, circa the 1970s. Or a profile of a complex father-daughter bond, in all its enduring mystery. Adapted ingeniously and sensitively from Bechdel’s edgy and unsparing cartoon-book by playwright-lyricist Lisa Kron, gloriously scored by composer Jeanine Tesori and adroitly directed by Sam Gold, “Fun Home” is these things. And more. The multitextured strands of memory and ironic humor make it impossible to label it — as impossible as summing up one’s relationship with a difficult parent in a slogan.” Through July 30, 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., Seattle; tickets from $36 (206-625-1900 or 5thavenue.org).
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“Mud,” a three-character study in poverty and the tangled web of human relationships by Cuban-American, avant-garde playwright María Irene Fornés has a long history in Seattle. New City Theater has performed it at least twice (in 1990 and 2015). Now, eSe Teatro director Rose Cano brings it back for another run at The Slate Theater (near CenturyLink Field) and a series of shelters and community centers, including CASA Latina and Union Gospel Mission, in both Spanish- and English-language productions. Check the website for details. Through July 30, The Slate Theater, 815 Seattle Blvd. S., Seattle; $20 (800-838-3006 or eseteatromud-barro.brownpapertickets.com).
“UMO Resistance Cabaret”
New buffoons from the 17-year-old subversive clowning and physical-theater company UMO make their debut with 20 performers sprawling around an ACT Theatre stage. UMO has been a local favorite for years in vaudeville and commedia-dell’arte-style circles for its combination of wit, foolishness and sharp political critique. July 21-23, ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle; tickets from $25 (206-292-7676 or acttheatre.org).
“Cthulhu: The Musical”
Some people have never fully understood people’s fixation with Cthulhu, the mysterious, undersea, cult-inspiring, cosmic creature dreamed up by early 20th-century Rhode Island writer H.P. Lovecraft — and to be honest, neither have I. But the fixation exists, including dozens of films about the malevolent “Great Old One” that drives people mad through their dreams. Now, Oregon-based company Puppeteers for Fears brings “Cthulhu: The Musical,” with marionettes and a live band. An earlier show sold out six solid weekends in Ashland, Oregon. July 21-24, 18th & Union, 1406 18th Ave., Seattle; $15-$27 (866-811-4111 or puppeteersforfears.com).