MY PERFECT MIND: Told By An Idiot
Runs: 1h 40m, no interval, to 15 Nov; two additional dates in Barcelona
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, Birmingham Rep, 04 11 14
Precious sublime madness.
Some shows are very special; this is one of them.
In large part this is due to the power of the story being told. Edward Petherbridge was rehearsing the role of King Lear when he had a stroke which left him nearly paralysed. As he struggled to recover he discovered he remembered the whole of KING LEAR virtually word for word. But there’s another large part, too – the extraordinary wit and joy with which the story is told.
On the one hand you have a tall, rather gaunt, and elegant Petherbridge off-handedly relating parts of his life (including a phone call for an ambulance) and from time to time going into powerful extracts of King Lear. On the other hand, you have a maniacal Paul Hunter adopting a range of wild characters – frequently bordering on the offensive(!) to great comic effect.
The result is that you never know where the story may go next, nor what physical or verbal fireworks may come at you.
It’s truly laugh-out-loud time. Yet you never lose sight of the cruel twist of fate that underpins the play, nor the joy of watching Petherbridge performing, once more, in front of you.
The Lear storm scene is marvellous. Lear painting and splashing at the walls, with Hunter running between rain machine, wind machine and thunder sheet – a very unstill centre for the storm.
This is a multi-layered story; and the magic lies not just in the way this marvellous pair tell it, but in the way they do it too.
Director: Kathryn Hunter
Designer: Michael Vale
Lighting Design: Alex Wardle
Sound Design: Gregory Clarke
Associate Director: Mia Theil Have