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Every Brilliant Thing

Members say: Clever, Profound, Resonant, Absorbing, Intelligent
91
Critics
90
12 reviews
Members
91
11 reviews
 

Barrow Street presents the story of a young boy who attempts to cure his mother's depression by finding the best things in life.

... Read more

'In Every Brilliant Thing,' a young boy attempts to ease his mother's depression by creating a list of all the best things in the world. Everything worth living for. Through adulthood, as the list grows, he learns the deep significance it has on his own life. Every Brilliant Thing is a new play about depression and the lengths we go to for those we love.

 

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Reviews (23)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
90
Avg Score

95
The New York Times

"The reconfigured in-the-round theater exudes the intimacy of an informal living room. Mr. Donahoe presides over it as a host who is skilled in the art of disarming; he generates the illusion that he is somehow our acquaintance of long standing. This acuity and affability isn’t nearly as effortless as Mr. Donahoe makes it appear. The script walks a fine line with unobtrusive artistry." Full Review

80
Variety

"Donahoe is a warm and personable performer — so warm and personable, he doesn’t even seem to be performing as much as taking the audience into his confidence. Not only is his emotionally damaged character willing to share his precepts for a happy life with his audience, it’s actually mandatory that the audience become collaborators (or is it enablers?) in his story." Full Review

80
Time Out New York

"A theatrical candy cane: very sweet but tempered by sharpness and striped with bright nostalgia...Canes made of candy, it turns out, provide only so much support. But Macmillan’s slim, hour-long show works a gentle magic, thanks to Donahoe’s skill as a host." Full Review

85
Theatermania

"Every Brilliant Thing is far more a communal experience — bordering on group therapy — than a passively absorbed theatrical presentation. Donahoe, however, with his genuine demeanor and infectious smile, succeeds in turning a piece about the grave subject of suicide into the most joyful session you'll ever attend. " Full Review

85
Theatermania

"Every Brilliant Thing is far more a communal experience — bordering on group therapy — than a passively absorbed theatrical presentation. Donahoe, however, with his genuine demeanor and infectious smile, succeeds in turning a piece about the grave subject of suicide into the most joyful session you'll ever attend. " Full Review

95
New York Magazine / Vulture

"The two words I least want to hear in conjunction with a show I’m about to attend are audience participation...Every Brilliant Thing, a touching and unusual new work at the Barrow Street Theatre, is the exception that proves the rule." Full Review

95
New York Magazine / Vulture

"The two words I least want to hear in conjunction with a show I’m about to attend are audience participation...Every Brilliant Thing, a touching and unusual new work at the Barrow Street Theatre, is the exception that proves the rule." Full Review

100
Talkin' Broadway

"Every Brilliant Thing becomes not just affecting, but about as brilliant as theatre can get." Full Review

95
WNBC

"What Macmillan and Donahoe have constructed is a participatory theatrical experience that works because everyone feels secure. The success of "Every Brilliant Thing" hinges on the ability of a roomful of strangers to drop their collective guard and trust Donahoe, the leading player. This charismatic comic has no trouble getting people on his side, fast." Full Review

90
The Associated Press

"The focus of the play is a list of good things that a young boy creates to cheer up his depressed mother, starting with ice cream…The items on the list are often very funny and the play is ultimately life-affirming, as one would hope, even though it bravely faces the realization that you may not be able to make the people happy that you love." Full Review

95
TDF Stages

"Crucially, Donahoe’s feisty performance makes this play about depression and suicide feel buoyant and nuanced, not viciously dark or cheaply optimistic. As Macmillan says, “There’s a way of talking about it that’s sincere and funny and accessible and tries to communicate the complexity of the issue without being mawkish about it. That’s the tightrope walk.” Full Review

90
Theatre's Leiter Side

"The familiar music, touching premise, and Mr. Donahoe’s winning personality combine to create an hour of theatre that, in spite of its look at depression and suicide, manages in its life-affirming optimism to be both humorous and moving, while steering clear of undue schmaltziness." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
91
Avg Score

75
Poignant, Absorbing, Clever, Resonant, Endearing

See it if you like being reminded of what makes life worth living. EBT is touching, but not terribly profound or original. The acting was solid.

Don't see it if you want traditional theater. EBT is more like a lecture w/audience participation. It was captivating, but not ambitious. Not really a play.

Also I'm catching up on old reviews. While I was at EBT, I was engaged. But... Read more Read less

100
Brilliant, Clever, Profound, Hilarious

See it if if you ever get the chance. It is brilliant, touching, funny, clever and more.

Don't see it if if you are uncomfortable with audience participation

Also I saw this show in Jan 2015. My note on the playbill I saved simply sa... Read more Read less

90
Funny, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if you want to be moved and impressed with the quickness and inventiveness of the telling.

Don't see it if you think gratitude is too touchy feeley.

92
Clever, Delightful, Masterful, Profound, Resonant

See it if you enjoy intimate and interactive theater experiences.

Don't see it if you prefer big splashy numbers.

93
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Intelligent

See it if you want to see a really unique, wonderful one man show. It's funny and heartbreaking. Very memorable.

Don't see it if don't want to see a play about depression, even a funny one.

97
Original, Great acting, Profound, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if You are, or want to be, a compassionate person. Don't be put off by "audience participation"- your minor moment helps make this show.

Don't see it if You confuse sensitivity with sentimentality and think audience participation must automatically be cringe-inducing or embarrassing.

100
Funny, Original, Clever, Profound, Great writing

See it if you want to see a "brilliant" one man show about depression, with beautiful audience participation. Extremely moving.

Don't see it if being asked to participate (in a small way, don't worry!) scares you, or if you're in the mood for a classic play. This is outside the box.

86
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound

See it if you enjoy small, immersive theatre led by a solo act telling the story of depression, gratitude, and heart.

Don't see it if you hate audience participation. Odds are, you'll be asked to do some small part in the show like I was.

88
Funny, Clever, Quirky, Moving

See it if you want an original, heart-felt approach to a one-person show. The incorporation of the audience was masterful, and the story was poignant.

Don't see it if you are particularly triggered by discussions of suicide.

83
Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Resonant, Hilarious

See it if You think the power of theater comes from it being live and the interaction between the stage and audience.

Don't see it if You are scared by participation, do not like one-person shows.

100
Clever, Enchanting, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You want to see a profound play about someone battling depression with humor.

Don't see it if You want something fluffy and happy.