A new approach to Lear

my perfect mind cast

My Perfect Mind

Birmingham Rep Door

****

My Perfect Mind is a unique and wonderful production by the endearing company Told by an Idiot.

With a previous success of Don’t Try This at Home, recently performed at The REP, this production is just as fun-filled and extremely touching.

It is a two-man show ln which. through the exploration of Shakespeare’s King Lear, Edward Petherbridge and Paul Hunter reflect a struggle between what the body is able to do versus the power of the mind.

The concept of the show takes inspiration from Edward Petherbridge, an esteemed and talented classical actor due to play the role of King Lear, but who suffers the effects of a stroke.

Whilst in the process of recovery, Petherbridge discovers that his Lear was not entirely lost. In fact, the role was still completely present in his mind. The moving tale resulted in a story never told before, and with playful direction by Kathryn Hunter in an imaginative style that is a hallmark of this company, it is a production that you won’t forget any time soon.

My Perfect Mind is a wonderful celebration of The Bard’s great work, but also sheds light on an individual’s determination, perseverance and tells us to look on the bright side.

The renowned and exquisitely talented Edward Petherbridge plays both himself, King Lear and any other character that bursts into his mind while Paul Hunter plays every other part in between.

Both actors work in harmony with each other to fashion an atmosphere of creativity and fun, setting off fireworks of inspiration. Hunter and Petherbridge invite us into their wonderful space with open arms.

Constantly talking to the audience they make us feel that we have an equal part in the company with the players. Amongst the laughter and fun, there is a story that is just as moving. Petherbridge and Hunter are masters of leading us through a journey of emotion as they relay the story of Petherbridge’s recovery, also staying true to the awe inspiring tragedy of King Lear.

Told by an Idiot celebrate Petherbridge’s past successes and current talent as we see a focused and emotive portrayal of Lear. Hunter captures our hearts and imagination as the narrator of the piece, including resembling those who have influenced Petherbridge’s life, and indeed the many characters in King Lear.

Petherbridge and Hunter’s on stage relationship is another element to the magic that Told by an Idiot never fail to produce. One truly captivating moment was during a portrayal of the final scene of Lear, Petherbridge playing the king and Hunter playing Cordelia. Both had an awe inspiring understanding for each other to create a heart-stopping scene of intensity that stripped the audience of breath. Throughout the production, the perfect balance was created with an enlightening artistic flare with the ability to move the audience to the height of emotion.

The performance space is a reflection of Told by and Idiot’s unruly imagination. The set is literally a blank canvass, allowing for their sparkling minds to thrive and play out whatever they like. Both actors make the set their own playground. At first the audience see a white sheet, but it soon becomes the embodiment of colour as Petherbridge and Hunter use it as a canvas for their imagination to run wild.

Told by and Idiot are beautiful innovators of art and always push the boundaries of the imagination. My Perfect Mind is a totally engaging production, constantly allowing the audience to feed off their instant creativity. As well as being an emotional exploration into King Lear, we see a wonderful piece filled with charm, laughter and fun. To 08-11-14

Elizabeth Halpin

04-11-14 

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