Every Beautiful Thing leaves me beautifully shaken up
Every once in a while, it's good to be reminded why New York is such a great place to live. But it's not only the major Broadway shows that make it a cultural experience, it's much smaller, breaking-all-rules off-Broadway productions.
Every Beautiful Thing may seem to be a standup comedian show at first, but as soon as Johnny Donahoe opens his mouth, you realize it's anything but. Presented in a tiny, intimate setting where you can't immediately figure out where the stage will be, as soon as you walk in and take your seat you know this show will be different. There's even something special about the audience--which is a good mix of younger crowd and older, mature show-goers who frequent Barrow Street Theatre--all of whom seem esctatic to participate in the show and eagerly take the paper slips passed out by Johnny before the show.
It's a comedy, but its dark humor and deep messages surprised me, more so than I understood while watching the show. It was much later, days perhaps, that some of the messages sank in. I expected to come out of the show entertained after sharing a few laughs, but instead I found myself . . . somewhat depressed by the feelings that the story invoked in me. You aren't expecting to be learning life lessons attending a comedy show, and when you suddenly get something so utterly meaningful in a 90-minute show, it leaves you somewhat distressed.
Can I say that I loved the show? I can't; Every Beautifull Thing and I didn't share a single love at first sight moment. But it did shake me up and made me think about the show for days afterwards, so I suppose it accomplished its objective.
There were a few places where I wished the narrative was better written, and I did think the show may have benefited from a happier ending.
It's not the beauty that we seek, it's the resurrection of something new that's been brewing in our minds, and this show did it for me. This is the reason I absolutely recommend that you consider changing those Broadway tickets for a beautifully sad masterpiece.