★★★★ Heart-wrenching, hilarious...possibly one of the funniest plays you'll ever see

- The Guardian, UK

In a nutshell:

WRITERS Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe
PERFORMER James Rowland
DIRECTOR George Perrin

The funniest thing you will ever see about the least funny thing in the world. A play about depression and the lengths we go to for those we love.   

Award-winning British playwright Duncan Macmillian has created a text that exists as an unlikely collection of contradictions. It is autobiographical and yet also universally accessible, heartbreakingly touching but simultaneously hilarious, and deals with some deeply complex, easily mishandled topics with an elegant, affable clarity. However, arguably the most impressive accomplishment of Every Brilliant Thing is the effortlessness with which all these opposites coexist.  

The production's title refers to everything that's wonderful in the world. With a very unhappy mother in hospital, a six-year-old boy constructs a list of little things to help her find a way to be happy and that life might actually be worth living. From ice cream and kung fu movies, to Christopher Walken’s voice and construction cranes, his ‘inspiration-list’ offers plenty to ponder. As the narrative progresses, the list matures to include the things we cherish in adulthood, like falling in love and waking up next to somebody. 

This raw, charming and intimate piece of theatre, based on true and untrue stories, is performed by British storyteller comedian James Rowland who reveals how what begins as a naïve way of dealing with tragedy becomes a life-long reminder that joy can be found in the seemingly insignificant and how the unremarkable can, in fact, become something quite remarkable.     

There is something almost magical about the way a carefully crafted work for the stage can sweep a person up, transporting us somewhere extraordinary before releasing us back into the world, enriched and enlightened by the experience.  Every Brilliant Thing is a show such as this, offering one of the most superbly observed explorations of mental health and human emotion ever witnessed on stage, using nothing more than a single performer, a handful of musical excerpts and an inspired amount of audience participation. Limelight,Australia 2016 

Paines Plough is the UK’s national theatre of new plays. They commission and produce the best playwrights and tour their plays far and wide across the UK and the world.

Warning: Some scenes in this production make reference to mental illness and self-harm.     

Years 12-13

Extras for Teachers:

The Story Behind Every Brilliant Thing 
You tube - About Every Brilliant Thing 






Photograph: The Other Richard Design: Thread Design

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