I wanted to reduce my recent review of “The Events” to three words “Do not go.” For Every Brilliant Thing I would reduce it to “Go, go, go.” This show only runs through Sunday, so I would recommend hightailing it to Barrow Street Theatre to watch Jonny Donahoe’s solo autobiographical show.
The show you see, however, won’t be the one that I saw. Donahoe casts audience members to portray various people from his life and his interaction with them provides much of the show’s laughs. There was the “vet” who was smiling as he had to put a dog to sleep, the “school therapist” who provided therapy with a sock puppet and Donahoe’s “girlfriend” whose significant other had to be moved from his seat so Donahoe and she could flirt. And then there’s the list of “brilliant things” which audience members read aloud when prompted. This is the list that Donahoe started compiling when he was seven and his mother attempted suicide the first time. This is the list that grows as she makes a second attempt and the list that becomes an integral part of Donahoe’s life. The list is of life’s pleasures and range from the color yellow to Christopher Walken’s hair.
Much like Benjamin Scheuer’s “The Lion”, this play brings us to tears and makes us laugh. The playwright Duncan Macmillan and the director George Perrin, together with Donahoe, strike just the right balance. How can you not love a play where there’s a dog named Sherlock Bones and a cat named Margaret Scratcher? I am adding this show to my list of life’s pleasures. AFW
Every Brilliant Thing Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street
Tickets prices: $20-$79, discounts available
Running time: 1 hour 5 minutes no intermission
Runs through 3/29 (if you can’t catch it here it’s moving to the UK as of May)