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Every Brilliant Thing - Reviews Page


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You're seven years old. Mum's in hospital. Dad says she's 'done something stupid'. She finds it hard to be happy. You make a list of everything that's brilliant about the world. Everything worth living for. 

1. Ice cream 2. Water fights 3. Staying up past your bedtime and being allowed to watch TV 4. The colour yellow 5. Things with stripes 6. Rollercoasters 7. People falling over

A re-imagined play about the lengths we go to for those we love. Based on true and untrue stories. Written by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe.


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Just wanted to say thank you for last night - what a brilliant show - the show was both uplifting and thought provoking, with little bits of silence and stillness adding to the poignancy. The lack of set, and use of the boxes and actors as props was great. The kids were all amazing - and can't wait to see it again on Saturday night!



Every Brilliant Thing blew me away! It amazes me how this was originally a one-man show and could be transformed into an epic ensemble with such a young cast! As an A-level drama student at Steyning Grammar School, I wholly appreciated the use of chair duets, hymns hands, and all the thought that has gone into lighting, sound, costume and set! 

Those lucky enough to have seen this brilliant show will agree when I say it swept me up in a whirlwind of emotion, leaving me in deep thought about the effects of depression and suicide. I'd like to thank the wonderous drama department and inspirational students for such a great experience, and look forward to next year!

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Saw the play last night – it was utterly wonderful. A huge well done to everybody involved.

Sam Westcott (Twitter)


Just want to say what a superb performance on Friday night. Students rose to the occasion as always and dealt with the subject both professionally and sensitively. I would personally put it up there with 'Spring Awakening'. I even had an 'audience participation' part, thanks to Lily and Oscar. A great night!! Well done to you and all your team.



I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the school play on Friday. It was wonderful and you and the students did an amazing job. Thanks so much!



My son is in the play - we saw the first night (and I’m back tonight) with his aunt and grandmother!).  It’s been a fantastic experience for him personally, but I also wanted to take the chance to respond as an audience member (and not just as a parent). 

It's a wonderful piece - and totally surpassed my expectations of what's possible with a school production.  The sensitivity and bravery of the cast and of the staging and adaptation creates something really magical - totally gripping and incredibly moving (I had tears in my eyes on more than one occasion). I think it also says a great deal about your skill as a teacher, and about the supportive ethos of the school as a whole, that you can tackle such an important and complex subject .  In my working life I see how young people manage and articulate complicated and difficult experiences in their everyday lives, so it feels especially powerful to see how you and the cast have engaged with and expressed that complexity through the choice of play and the work you have done in the production. I feel very lucky to have my child educated in a school that can stage a play on such a sensitive topic, and do it so confidently, and well. With thanks and all best wishes.



Congratulations on another amazing production.   

Every single performance was strong.  Your adaptation was so well crafted.  And what a gorgeous playlist!

Love Georgia x 


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I thought the play was captivating and compelling. It was very raw and stripped right back - which made it all the more powerful. The students couldn't hide anywhere and came across as very confident and worked brilliantly as a group. My son came to watch with a lot of his friends and equally enjoyed it. So, thankyou for a special night.

Gail and Bertie


Amazing performances this eve -brought a tear to my eye and good on you for raising awareness #Mentalhealth #everybrilliantthing

1. Being blown away by a totally brilliant production

2. Making the most of a Friday night!

3.Wishing I could watch it again tomorrow. 

Wonderful stuff. Thank you!


Loved it. Another absolute cracker from @DStringerDRAMA 

Well done cast and crew, pure ensemble and some very special alumni too


I wanted to say the show was outstanding! I saw it on Wednesday and am very much looking forward to seeing it again tomorrow. It really is so good.



I came along with Jude's brother, dad and grandmother on Saturday evening.  We thought it was fantastic and couldn't stop discussing it all the way home - as well as the following day. We couldn't fault the performances - everyone was line perfect and full of energy.  The staging, music, blocking and costumes made the show look of the highest professional standards. I hadn't realised that you'd done the adaptation from the original script, yourself - it worked brilliantly as an ensemble piece.  You should consider filming the performance so that other schools can use it in PSE lessons - and take it to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe - it would definitely stand up against everything else that is there.

Finally, I want to say thank you for giving Jude the opportunity to be in the show.  It was really hard work - he was clearly exhausted at times, and sad to be missing out on some of his sport - but the new friends, enthusiasm for drama and the amount he learned from such a fantastic cast and crew more than made up for that.  I think the casting - with the two younger kids worked really well and how wonderful for them to have been able to learn from the older ones. We really appreciate how you (and your team) have managed to get him so engaged and excited by drama.




Having seen the original one-man show of EBT back in the Edinburgh festival a few years ago I was apprehensive about the idea that this could be adapted to an ensemble piece for teenagers at Stringer. The subject matter is difficult and in the original show there is a lot of audience participation.  But I was truly amazed and astonished by the performances this week. The ensemble worked so well together, their timing was slick and confident. The cast seemed to really rise to the challenge of dealing with the themes of depression and suicide and much as it was heart breaking to watch such young actors play out some brutal realities of the effects these can have on families, I was also really lifted by their sensitivity and maturity. The comedy played within such a sad story was also perfect to make it bearable - I think the original review said "the funniest play you'll ever see about depression" and that was still true for this fantastic version. Congratulations to all the cast, crew and Ms Ettinger and her team for such a Brilliant Thing!  


We attended Friday’s performance of Every Brilliant Thing and feel that it was one of the very best plays that the talented drama department at Stringer has put on.  There were some really strong performances from the pupils involved and it was a great production - tremendous music as well!  Congratulations to all involved.

Steve Hardman


I had heard how professional the drama productions at Stringer are, and I'd seen first-hand how much time and commitment had gone into the rehearsals, so I was expecting it to be good. I wasn't expecting to be quite so blown away and forget I was watching a school production..I thought I'd be watching Sam the whole time, but became so absorbed in it all that I kept forgetting to!

Funny, moving, thought-provoking.. I'd have been very happy if I'd paid to see a production like that in any theatre or fringe event.

With mental health and well-being so topical at the moment, I think it was a brilliant and brave subject to tackle.. but one that should be shown in every high school. I haven't stopped finding things to add to the list ever since!..

I am so impressed with the way the pupils worked together to produce such a polished performance.. and equally impressed with the caring team ethos you've built in your drama team, in particular the way they've all looked out for 'little Sam'. I've said to Sam to watch and learn.. this is how to do 'teenagering' well!

This has been a totally amazing experience for Sam in his first term at secondary school and he's loved every minute. Thank you for giving him this wonderful opportunity.

I hope you've had a relaxing weekend and a good rest!

Linda and Paul


Hi miss, I watched the show last night

It was great (so were the actors), I thought it was amazingly written and managed Mr.Hood,Ms.poole and you handled it so well!

Feedback: I wish I could have seen if the lead got back together with Sam (but nothing major)

All in all a great show


P.S I would love to have details about the next show because I have would love to take part and audition


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We'd like to say a massive thank you to Paul Winter who photographed the school production.

Paul Winter

Dorothy Stringer School, Loder Road, Brighton, BN1 6PZ | Tel: 01273 852222 | Fax: 01273 852310 | Email: