I must confess to many misgivings about "Every Brilliant Thing," from the fact that it revolves around a list first begun by a young child, to that it has a very heavy audience-participation component.
Some of the audience-participation is fairly inconsequential, such as being called upon to recite a numbered list-item aloud. But, other roles filled by audience-members are pivotal, like that of a school guidance-counselor who I would've bet my last dollar was a plant. According to director Rose Riordan, this role is cast by finding a woman wearing easily-accessible socks, (I won't ruin the reason why.) She may have been selected for her socks, but the vintage glasses she wore were undoubtedly a plus. If indeed her lines were completely unscripted, they happened upon a champion ad-libber. (My list item was one sentence long, and part of my mind was racing with thoughts of ruining the flow of the show had I dropped it, or something similar.) I can only imagine what she was feeling.
It seems almost embarrassingly obvious to note that the success of a one-man show rests on the shoulders of that actor, but it must be said that Isaac Lamb effortlessly exudes effervescence. (Ah, alliteration.) The list of Every Brilliant Thing was written as a child's ode to optimism to counteract his mother's severe depression, and we must see that optimism shine ever-so-slightly in Lamb at all times, even as he begins to despise The List himself. Because he succeeds at this, we are "with" him the whole way.
That said, in my discussion with Ms. Riordan she invited me to come back, and I may, but probably for closing-night, because the number of emotions you are made to experience in a brisk 70 minutes make for a rough ride. But, it certainly is a Brilliant Thing.
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