Every Brilliant Thing
By Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe
Starring Luke Hewitt
Black Swan Theatre Company
In Perth until September 18, then touring Albany, Esperance and Kalgoorlie
The Black Swan Theatre Company could not have chosen a more timely play than Every Brilliant Thing, arriving as it does in a time of despair caused by climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Its deceptively simple plot tracks a man from childhood to adulthood, whose life is haunted by his mother’s depression and suicide attempts.
Starting as a seven year old, he copes by writing a list of everything he loves about life, starting with ice-cream. As he ages, his list evolves, matures and becomes more complex, but it is always amusing and compelling.
Delivered as a one-person show and performed in the round, it requires a courageous performer to pull it off, but Perth’s Luke Hewitt does it well. The play is only 70 minutes long, but Hewitt brings buckets of energy and ability to hold the audience.
He combines skills as a musician, singer, dancer, raconteur and theatre sports director, to bring audience members through the fourth wall to contribute to the story.
The play unswervingly deals with suicide and anguish, but with sensitivity. It is leavened with empathy and humour.
Its basic premise is: “If you’ve lived a full life and you get to the end of it without ever once feeling depressed, then you probably haven’t been paying attention.”
Every Brilliant Thing has been described as the funniest play you will ever see about depression. It is actually more than that, going beyond the sadness to discover what makes life worth living.