REVIEW: Every Brilliant Thing (Auckland Arts Festival)

Review by Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth

Presented by Plaines Plough

[Brilliant Clarity]

Every Brilliant Thing is not what you would expect…not at all.

But it definitely is, as billed, “the funniest thing you’ll ever see about the least funny thing in the world”.

It’s important not to give away the format of the show, as part of its joy is how it reveals itself through sweet, funny, poignant scenes and storytelling.

Set in-the-round at Q Theatre’s Rangatira, solo actor James Rowland brilliantly portrays a human life spanning childhood to adulthood which includes family, joy, love, loss and kindness.

The ability of co-writers Jonny Donahoe and Duncan Macmillan to condense an often difficult to approach topic such as depression, without beating around the bush and/or shoving platitudes down our throats makes this show effective and highly affecting.  I’m sure I was not alone in the audience when I admit that despite the huge laugh-out-loud moments, I had many real moments where I tried my damnedest to hold back my tears.  And thanks to George Perrin’s direction it is the clarity of the way in which these vital messages are delivered that makes Every Brilliant Thing truly brilliant.

A wide variety of music sets the era and the mood, and the non-existent set makes the piece even more real and enables us to really use our imaginations.

It is a trip back in time to 1980s England, a biology/psychology lesson, an observational comedy and much, much more.

The show well and truly moved me and made me think deeper and more about various aspects of our lives.  It is imperative to be aware that although the balance between levity, poignancy and hilarity in the show mirrors life for some of us, it is not necessarily true for everyone.

In short, this show is:

  1. hilarious
  2. poignant
  3. likeable
  4. intelligent
  5. sad
  6. memorable
  7. honest
  8. tragic
  9. heart-warming
  10. essential

Every Brilliant Things plays until 26 March. Details see Q

SEE ALSO: review by Candice Lewis

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