Cappies Review: We Put the FUN in Funeral

Naturally, some families are zanier than others, but family is something to which most everyone can relate. We Put the F. U. N. in Funeral, presented by Big and Bigger Productions, explores the relationships in a family that makes the meaning of the phrase “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family” exceedingly clear. Though, like the expression, the show is often cliché, it does have an amusing script and a number of laughable moments.

We first meet the family on a Christmas morning where its dysfunctionality is on display. Trey (Norb Wessels), who, in his unremarkableness, is an exception to the craziness of the family, serves as our commentator, providing a brief rundown of who each of the various members of the family is as the rest hold frozen positions of chaos.

There’s neurotic Aunt Kathy (Megan Turner), always poking into other’s business, usually intoxicated Uncle Ron (Eric Zimmer) who happens to be taking drunken nap on football, egocentric cousin Bart (Aaron Schilling) who’s classical pianist aspirations annoy to no end, annoying little cousin Cammi (Maria Hehman), and Grandma (Katie Maurer), who’s dementia and advanced age gives her an excuse for her unfortunate forgetfulness, but which adds to the muddle nonetheless. Additionally, we are introduced to Trey’s parents, Sharron (Maggie Hehman) and Jason (Grant Lyons) who, like their son, are much more conventional in manner.

When next we meet the family, about fifteen years have gone by and we learn that Trey hasn’t seen his extended family in that time. This episode, however, the setting is more somber- his father’s funeral, which is, of course, the big event referenced in the show’s title. As expected, it’s evident that the family is as irreverent as ever, despite the occasion. Dismay ensues from Trey.

Finding an honest balance proves to be a struggle for the cast of Funeral. Some characters appear over-zealous while others seem underplayed, and many come across as simply a stiff stereotype. This isn’t to say they aren’t enjoyable, as a good chunk of the time they are, but they could delve deeper. And, though exchanges between characters within the flow of a scene seems unnatural, other parts that don’t require such realism, such as those which break the forth wall, come across well.

To sum up, though it can be repetitive, We Put the F. U. N. in Funeral mostly succeeds in putting together a fun show.

By: Richard Lowenburg

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