Edward Petherbridge has graced many a production over the years. At 70 it might have been time to retire or to choose scene-stealing cameos on TV but he agreed to take on the classical actor’s ‘Everest’ – King Lear.
BUT fate had other ideas and as the opening night loomed the actor suffered a serious stroke. He never got to play Lear (yet) but the experience has led to a new play My Perfect Mind, a two-hander, created by the company ‘Told by an Idiot’.
And what is it about? Well, Mr Patherbridge suggests ‘it’s either about the fragility of human life or the remarkable resilience, one of the two – or perhaps both’. Well, yes he is right but it is not that straightforward!
Those who have seen the company will know what to expect; something surreal, very funny, at times off the wall and frequently touching. The play zips around like a quicksilver mind stopping at various points in the life of one Edward Petherbridge and at key moments of King Lear.
The staging consists of a perilously raked platform; dozens of odd props but remarkably all are used but not always in the way expected.
Mr Petherbridge is an actor of wit and elegance; a raised eyebrow can convey so much. He has obviously taken to heart his dancing teacher’s advice of ‘economy and selection’. Paul Hunter plays every other role with such great comic skill.
My Perfect Mind will occasionally make you laugh out loud, smile, chuckle and in some of Lear’s final minutes may make you cry. What a moving Lear Mr Petherbridge would be. It is good to have him back on stage.
How much pleasure you get from My Perfect Mind will depend on your knowledge and love of theatre and acquaintance with the bard’s play. But there is much to delight in its uninterrupted ninety minutes.