Brilliant Young Thing (FringeTIX)
Cash Theatre @ Bakehouse Theatre
10:30pm, Fri 9 Mar 2007
Believe it or not, I was actually once considered a really, really smart kid. Nothing at school ever bothered me (except “creative” stuff – logic and order ruled my brain) and I could do pretty much whatever I set my mind to. Then I got terribly lazy and coasted along for awhile and woke up yesterday turning thirty-six years old and feeling like it’s all slipping away. So when I read the precis of Brilliant Young Thing in the Guide, I was sold.
Carl was once a Brilliant Young Thing (BYT) – had It all, but pissed It away. Approaching the ripe old age of twenty-seven (aw, diddums) he’s desperate to get his Brilliant Mojo back. He meets a current BYT in Bernard, kidnaps him, and picks his brain to try and figure out where It all went. Eventually, this show drags Carl’s flatmate, ex-girlfriend, and a bartender from his local pub into a little conundrum – what does it take to be happy? And is Everybody Else really happy, or is the grass simply greener over there?
I half-jokingly hoped I’d find something familiar in Brilliant Young Thing, but for the first forty-five minutes I was a little disappointed – hey, I’d finished two degrees by his age, and Carl is slacking on his first. But towards the end of the show, when Carl and the bar-guy start talking about videogames, I spotted parts of myself. The very next scene, when Carl walks back into his home with a box of KFC under his arm, I was looking into a fucking mirror. Sure, it was a mirror that made me thin and tall and handsome and witty, but that was me out there on the stage. Even more so when he started cowering behind his flatmate.
But the videogames and chicken were nothing but ham-fisted metaphors in the show, whereas in my world they’re videogames and yumminy. Even so, Brilliant Young Thing is pretty much exactly what I expect to see in a small semi-mainstream Fringe production – a slight script with a hint of depth, played out with enthusiasm and an uneven eye for direction. Not the greatest show ever made, but very far from the worst.