ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT/THEATRE REVIEW

Joel Ripka (front left) with audience members in the Peterborough Players production of Every Brilliant Thing. Photo by Will Howell

By Eve Fisher

Your Local Court Jester

PETERBOROUGH — I walked into the Peterborough Players production of Every Brilliant Thing starring Joel Ripka completely and utterly blind, not knowing what to expect, and I’m so glad I did.

Every Brilliant Thing is certainly not a traditional sort of play, it’s more of an experience. The house lights stay on the whole time, there are seats on the stage, Ripka moves freely around the audience and speaks directly to them the whole show a well as introducing himself to audience members before the show even begins.

It’s a one man show where a man, the spectacular Joel Ripka, tells the story of a list he complied over the course of his life that he begins as an attempt to help his mother deal with her depression and suicide attempts when he’s a child.

For a pretty heavy premise the show is incredibly optimistic. Ripka will have you blissful and laughing and happy and then suddenly solemn, contemplating happiness, and on the verge of tears. It’s a line he walks masterfully and he changes tones flawlessly.

Ripka brings an immense energy, people skills and talent to the show that enables him to deftly engage the audience with his character. Audience participation is a solid amount of the show. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but be prepared for anything!

The show is extremely enjoyable, but isn’t all fun and games. It talks very seriously about depression, suicide, and many other heavy topics, yet will have you leaving the theater grinning and perhaps even seeing every brilliant thing in the world.

Joel Ripka stars in Every Brilliant Thing at the Peterborough Players. Photo by Will Howell

This is the Peterborough Players second offering for is Winter Season and the New Hampshire premiere of comedy/drama written by Duncan MacMillan. And is coming off a successful run of the play at the Chester Theatre in the Berkshires this summer where Ripka won the Berkshire Theatre Awards’ Best Solo Performance and the production won for Outstanding New Play.

Every Brilliant Thing opened Thrusday and is running through Sunday, Feb. 11.

Daniel Elihu Kramer is the director. The play is rated PG-13.

The Peterborough Players is located at 55 Hadley Road in Peterborough. For showtimes and tickets go online to peterboroughplayers.org or call 924-7585.