The Mystery Reviewer
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REVIEW: Every Brilliant Thing at Discover DeCrypt, Gloucester
Discover Decrypt, Gloucester was the perfect venue to watch Ignite Theatre present Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe.
This one man performance by the talented Mark Lloyd was a unique experience. The play discusses a very intense subject matter as we take a journey alongside a young boy dealing with his mum’s mental health issues surrounding her depression. We follow him from his childhood days and first hearing that his mum is in hospital all the way to him becoming a man and ultimately discovering his own need to reach out and talk.
Mark engages the audience from the first few lines of his performance. You believe you really are listening to the thoughts of a 7 yr old boy trying desperately to help show his mum every brilliant thing life has to offer in the only way he knows how, by writing a numbered list.
Thanks to the intimate setting and regular audience participation you feel every emotion together, from the care free innocence expressed in his youthful list of brilliant things like ice cream and laughing so hard you shoot milk out of your nose to the angry teenager trying to make a life of his own in a world he is still trying to understand.
Poignant and sometimes difficult memories give way to much lighter and hilarious moments when more numbers on the ever increasing list are revealed. Various members of the audience are called upon to become family, professionals and we even get to witness an impromptu marriage proposal.
This is a beautifully written play full of heartbreak and humour. The acting skills used by Mark to undertake such an emotive piece of work really help to shine a light on what many still considering to be a dark subject matter often shrouded in secrecy.
The appeal of this play is not just in every word that is acted and shared with us and by us as a participating audience but also all the words that are left unspoken, the pauses in just the right places. The inclusion of certain songs and music to envoke emotions and memories. The singing, the laughter, the energetic high fives Mark gives to the whole room.
I left the venue with a reminder of just how fragile life can be, how we should always try to remember how much happiness the big things and sometimes even more importantly how much happiness the little things in life bring us and that even though not every day is good, things can get better.
Anything that helps reduce the stigma associated with mental health and opens up a dialogue to discuss these issues is a great step in the right direction.
Review by Joanne Robbins
The Mystery Reviewer
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