Review | ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ is insightful, funny and… brilliant

Every Brilliant Thing

Every Brilliant Thing | State Theatre Centre | Until 18 September | ★ ★ ★ ★  

Luke Hewitt is a highly skilled story teller. I thought I was watching an autobiography. It’s not, but it could just as well be one. The show is insightful, funny and Luke performs it brilliantly.

The main character tells his story starting from childhood perspectives and follows through to adulthood. He has a parent with clinical depression and this forms a backdrop that infiltrates many aspects of his life. Much of the show keeps coming back to his number one coping mechanism. He creates a list of every brilliant thing in life.

Being the child of a parent with chronic mental health issues myself, I know that it’s not often our stories are told. The insights in this play cross the boundaries that divide our experiences and hit home for me again and again. It is very intelligently written, touching on and pulling together many truths seamlessly.

This show is also funny. There’s a constant juxtaposition of humour being found in this serious topic. Luke comes across as a regular guy and brings a touch of daggy, dad humour. He kept the audience engaged from the first moment to the very end.

I was impressed with the preparedness and organisation Luke used to involve the audience. Before the show he quietly picked out many audience members, handing them cards and engaging in conversation. I’m sure he was using this opportunity to assess who would be good, willing candidates to later involve as characters in his story. The involvement of audience members to play occasional characters added to the rich texture of the storytelling and brought a delightful spontaneity.

While the mention of audience participation sparks fear in most of us, Luke has a rather rare talent for involving audience members with humour but without humiliating anyone. He is gentle with those he includes and inspires their trust.

There is a bigger picture here. There is a lot of focus these days on breaking down the stigma around mental health and this show is another important contribution. I recommend this show to anyone who relates to this topic.

Tickets to Black Swan State Theatre Company’s Every Brilliant Thing are on sale now.

Halimah Halse

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