Theatrical: ‘Every brilliant thing’ at the Peacock Theatre

The problem is the fact that this is an interactive show. It is set in the round without an elevated stage or dimmed lighting offstage throughout the performance. Before the show started Amy Conroy mingled (fully masked) with the audience members handing out postcards to each. The postcard had a number on it, and on the back were words or sentences. At random points in the show, she would call a number and the possessor of the card with said number was asked to repeat the words on the cards as loudly as possible. I shuddered. When I go to the theatre, I want to see the show, but don’t want to be part of it. That is not my place. I am an audience member.

More alarmingly was that from the outset she dragged audience members onto the stage to play characters that hers was engaging with – her father; her schoolteacher; the vet; her boyfriend. Some of these were terrible. A play needs to work on its own merits, not via terrifying the audience. Some of the victims called to the stage had clearly never acted before – some were nervous; some were silent; some didn’t have voices that projected properly; some were attention seeking show-offs. None of this was their fault. They were audience members, not performers.

The story of this woman’s struggle was impactful in places. Amy Conroy is a talented performer – at times comedic; at others moving. It felt intimidating though. I spent a large part of the play worried at the thought that she would drag me on stage to participate. A feeling of dread in theatre can be amazing. Not in circumstances like this though.

My number was called near the end. I projected my voice. Having a sore throat, I am slightly hoarse so sounded quite sexy.

At the end, in typical Irish style, the audience rose to its feet to give another standing ovation to a show that didn’t merit it. I clapped as a matter of respect but remained firmly seated. Kudos to Amy Conroy for her performance, but this play which could have been impressive due to the subject matter suffered in its execution.

‘Every brilliant thing’ runs in the Peacock until 22nd January at the Covid friendly start time of 6pm.

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