BWW Review: EVERY BRILLIANT THING is an Unforgettable Night of Theatre
Ice cream. Rollercoasters. The smell of old books. The colour yellow. Friendly cats. These are only a few things that make life brilliant. But to a seven-year-old boy, they are also among a million reasons for his mother to live.
Every Brilliant Thing, the Citadel's latest triumph, is a one-man show written by Duncan MacMillan and Jonny Donahoe. Following an unnamed character from age seven to adulthood, it chronicles his heartfelt efforts to help combat his mother's depression. He compiles a list of things that make life beautiful, expanding on it through the years with the goal of reaching a million. Set in an intimate black box venue, the minimalist production bypasses elaborate lighting and set design, bridging the usual divide between actor and audience. Complete with audience participation, Every Brilliant Thing is like having a heart-to-heart with a lifelong friend.
Local favourite John Ullyatt takes centre stage, embodying the solo character with wit and sensitivity. Whether playing a seven-year-old mourning his dog or a young man falling in love, Ullyatt is a master storyteller and a delight to watch. Along with superb acting, he has a dynamic stage presence, even enlisting unsuspecting audience members to play his character's father, vet, and girlfriend-turned fiancée. At one point, he even literally charms the sock off an audience member, recruiting her as a school librarian bearing a wise impromptu sock puppet.
Both humorous and heartrending, Every Brilliant Thing is an unforgettable night of theatre. It plays at the Citadel's Rice Theatre until February 23rd.