Who: Written by Duncan MacMillan with Jonny Donahoe, starring Jimi Bani
What: Interactive theatre
When: Until 13 May 2023
Where: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Central
Tickets and more information can be found on the State Theatre Company website.
If you’re lucky, your first taste of Every Brilliant Thing comes before you even enter the theatre. My date and I were approached by the infectiously sweet Jimi Bani, star of this one-man show, while chatting in the foyer. Handing us a scrap of paper with a short inscription each, he gently invited us to be part of the play by reading out our line when he gave us the cue. We happily obliged and our experience of this incredibly wholesome and life-affirming piece of theatre was all the better for it.
Every Brilliant Thing has a deceptively simple premise: a boy whose mother has attempted to take her own life begins making a list of every brilliant thing in the world: the simple pleasures and everyday occurrences that bring joy to life. As the boy grows up and he is faced with the responsibility, complexity and struggles of his own life, his list resurfaces and is added to with the help of family, friends and the audience at pivotal moments.
Every Brilliant Thing represents everything I love about live theatre: charming, heart-warming story telling is expertly executed by Bani. Authentic and exhilarating human connections are made as Bani works with the audience to bring the list and story to life. Clever writing and Bani’s skill in encouraging participation make for many hilarious, half-improvised moments performed by members of the audience and Bani himself. The basic, square theatre in the round set-up of the cozy Space theatre emphasises the beautiful simplicity and humanity of this show. The house lighting throughout the show makes the entire audience part of the performance, enabling us to observe others’ reactions to the show and further inviting interactivity.
Refreshingly paired-back, Every Brilliant Thing is a universal, uplifting piece of theatre that I’d highly recommend. I left feeling inspired, moved and a little bit wiser. It was also the perfect theatrical accompaniment to the The Art of Frugal Hedonism, which I happen to be reading at the moment.
4.5 out of 5 stars
P.s. I still have my post-it note with ‘575. Piglets’ on it – it’s blue-tacked on the wall next to my work desk!