Every Brilliant Thing is an immersive experience that blends comedy, improv, and audience interaction in telling a story of emotional survival.
~Review and Photos by Dana Nöllsch~
Every Brilliant Thing, The Story
Based on a true story, Every Brilliant Thing follows the life of a girl who grows up with a mother impacted by depression and suicidal tendencies. The girl (Played by Mary Bennett) finds that if she starts writing a list of everything that makes life worth living, beginning with ice cream, water fights, staying up past bedtime, and being allowed to watch TV. This coping skill is one that the girl wishes to share with her mother.
As the girl grows up and finds a life of her own, the impact of growing up with the histrionics and worry of her mother takes a toll on her. Her father is little help or comfort. But the girl becomes a woman just as her mother’s life comes to an end. And now the woman stops writing her list of everything that makes life worth living.
The worry of whether she will follow in her mother’s footsteps weighs heavy on the woman’s mind. Add in a failed marriage, and it is apparent that the woman will need to take advantage of the coping skill she created as a little girl.
The audience is part of the show, with several members of the audience given pieces of paper with numbered “things that make life worth living.” These become part of the little girl’s journey as she calls to the audience to read the messages on the scraps of paper they are given.
Even with the dark subject, there is humor to break up the heaviness. As a matter of fact, the balance is as close to perfect, with laughter and sadness in equal amounts. The audience does not walk away devastated by the darkness, but they walk away contemplating the joy of life beyond the darkness.
This production contains discussions of depression and suicide.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or thinking about self-harm or suicide, there is help available. Call or text 988 for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
This powerful story can only be told by a powerfully talented actor, and Mary Bennett is just that actor. We have seen Bennett in many roles in the past, and many of those were indeed powerful, but this may be her best performance, at least in the top three. I and the entire audience were in awe of Bennett’s powerful and poignant performance.
Bennett’s interaction with the audience added to the impact of the performance in ways one should experience. Her ability to improvise as she brings audience members into her performance is nothing less than brilliant. As I write this, I feel my emotions revisiting the touching performance and heartfelt message.
The Bottom Line
With only eight performances and limited seating, get your tickets soon. Be sure to catch Every Brilliant Thing.
Be aware that Every Brilliant Thing may not be suitable for young children, and the show deals with depression, suicide, and death in a very frank and open manner. That being said, the way that humor and conscious insight are added to the story makes Every Brilliant Thing easy to watch and much less triggery than expected.
Every Brillant Thing
All The Amazing Things The Universe Has To Offer
Written by Duncan Macmillan With Jonny Donahoe
Directed By Holly Natwora
Featuring Mary Bennett
January 26, 27, 31(A) February 1, 2, 3, 2024 @ 7:30 PM
SUNDAY Matinees: January 28 & February 4* @ 2 PM
Senior/Student/Military $26 General Tickets $30 All Tickets $35 at the Door A = Artist Night $17 All Tickets
Only 8 Performances!
EVERY BRILLIANT THING ONLINE TICKET LINK: https://www.bruka.org/boxoffice
99 N. Virginia St, Reno 775.323.3221 www.bruka.org
RESERVATIONS: In person or by phone through the Brüka Box Office (775) 323-3221.