One of the scenes from Every Brilliant Thing sees a boy and his father sitting side-by-side in the car after the father comes to pick up his son from school. To everything the father says, the boys asks, “Why?”

“Put your seatbelt on.”


“Because it’s safer.”


And so it continues with the father eventually telling the boy that his mother is in hospital (Why?) because she’s very unhappy (Why?).

Every Brilliant Thing stars Jason Klarwein who comes with extensive acting experience from Bell Shakespeare Company to the Queensland Theatre Company. In 2009, Jason toured the US with Cate Blanchett in the Sydney Theatre Company’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Every Brilliant Thing demonstrates how a child tries to make sense of life with a depressed, suicidal parent. His first instinct is to try to cheer his mother up by listing all the things that make him feel good, reasoning that they will probably make his mum feel better too. Why wouldn’t she feel better thinking of ice cream, things with stripes, or bubble wrap?

The audience not only witnesses the boy navigate life with his unhappy mother and struggling father, as he grows into adulthood, but becomes an integral part of the play. The play is performed in-the-round and there is no escape from becoming one of the cast by sitting in the back row. Almost everyone gets a part, some greater than others. If you’re wearing socks, be prepared to turn one of those socks into a puppet. If you’re wearing a jacket it may be turned into a dying dog. Look like a dad? You might be in the driver’s seat.

It’s an extraordinary achievement for a play about such grim subjects to not only be funny, but also life-affirming. Even in the darkest moments, cracks appear and the light shines in, sometimes with something as simple but comforting as the crackle of a vinyl record before the music begins.

A well-deserved standing ovation was awarded the preview performance and there is no doubt everyone in the audience emerged feeling good. Some even came away with a small “care pack”.

Every Brilliant Thing is directed by Timothy Wynn, who is the Artistic Director of Ipswich-based THAT Production Company and has directed more than 20 productions, many award-winning. It will run from Wednesday to Saturday, 11-21 October at Metro Arts (in the West Village precinct) with an Artist Talk on Wednesday 11 October. Tickets HERE.