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My Perfect Mind

93
Critics
93
55 reviews
Members
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Produced by the Young Vic and part of 59E59's "Brits Off Broadway" Festival, 'My Perfect Mind' follows actor Edward Petherbridge, who, cast as King Lear, suffers a stroke in rehearsal that leaves him barely able to move.

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As he struggles to recover Edward makes a discovery: the entire role of Lear still exists word for word in his mind. From being on the brink of playing one of Shakespeare's most revered roles, to lying in a hospital bed surrounded by doctors, Edward never imagined what tragedies and comedies lie in store for him. Originally produced in Britain by the Young Vic, this production is part of 59E59's "Brits Off-Broadway" Festival.

 

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Reviews (55)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
93
Avg Score

95
The New York Times

"Having a stroke is like going to a carnival in 'My Perfect Mind,' the deceptively jolly account of a traumatic chapter in the life of the actor Edward Petherbridge...There’s cathartic method within the music-hall madness. 'My Perfect Mind' uses the stuff of slapstick to raise and wrestle with a terror that lurks in us all...Mr. Petherbridge does what actors have always done, turning handicaps into weapons to conquer an audience." Full Review

90
BroadwayWorld

"Witty, wild, wonderful and thoroughly entertaining, this expertly crafted play is a must-see for audiences...This is a comedy with serious undertones...While there are moments of complete absurdity, 'My Perfect Mind' is also a thoughtful, poignant story that you will remember long after Petheridge and Hunter take their final bows." Full Review

95
Theatermania

"Petherbridge's extraordinary performance is reason enough to flock to the theater, but the autobiographical nature of the story, together with a ridiculously funny performance by his costar, Paul Hunter, adds a fascinating dimension to this quite literally off-kilter story...With all its twists, turns, and contortions, 'My Perfect Mind' is a delightfully entertaining brainteaser." Full Review

90
Time Out New York

"'My Perfect Mind' gets its zing from its insouciant attitude to the lead actor's stroke; it gets its literary scope from frequent flights into Shakespeare's play, the text itself an antidote to frailty. It's that rare thing, a play about the terrors to come that somehow operates on a delightful level. Like Lear's own Fool, it makes us laugh at the storm." Full Review

95
Lighting & Sound America

"'My Perfect Mind' is an exceptionally tricky entertainment, an evening of show business comedy that insinuates by degrees its message of endurance and survival, leaving one surprised to be so moved. Its story is of man's encounter with mortality, but every second of it teems with laughter and life." Full Review

100
Talkin' Broadway

"The pair cavorts through the play that is part autobiography and part zany romp, interspersed with short scenes from 'King Lear.' These scenes are performed with such eloquence that even if you’ve forsworn seeing yet another production of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, you will happily stand in line for tickets should Mr. Petherbridge take on the role in earnest. But for now, there is this joyous marvel of a work. The Inca lament for the dead sun god Atahualpa alone is worth the price of admissi... Full Review

95
Theatre is Easy

"Esteemed actors Edward Petherbridge and Paul Hunter blow the roof off the house with their whirlwind of talent and humor... There were times where I lost track of what was going on, but with their pacing and ease of communication it is clear there is a purpose to each and every component. As a result, my occasional confusion didn't detract from the entertainment value or deeper meanings they convey. " Full Review

95
BlogCritics.org

"This is an uplifting, fun production. Petherbridge takes the ball and runs after Hunter tosses it to him. Their seamless and relaxed interchanges remind us that this encomium to the power of the mind reveals grace despite stress; it reveals a new way to comprehend the mind’s shattering delicacy and its redemptive powers. Unlike glass, the mind is capable of regrowing or growing new pathways toward health. At the end of 'My Perfect Mind', Petherbridge has roundly proven it." Full Review

95
CurtainUp

"'My Perfect Mind' is no tragedy but gloriously irreverent and immense fun to watch. It combines a medley of set pieces from 'Lear,' theatrical shoptalk, and nuggets of Petherbridge's own incredible theater journey...This two-hander is a must-see for Shakespeare enthusiasts." Full Review

100
Exeunt Magazine

"'My Perfect Mind' is a perfect diamond in the rough, an opportunity to see one of Britain’s greatest living actors in a mesmerizing, funny, whip-smart and thoroughly human performance, a meditation on life and acting – also Lear – directed by another great British actress, Kathryn Hunter." Full Review

90
Stage and Cinema

"It’s difficult not to be delighted by this thoroughly self-conscious theatrical fantasia about theater, about acting as living and playing...so many threads are introduced throughout the performance that it’s impossible to tie them all up without making the show 'theatrical,' and thereby breaking with the knowing, free flowing, whimsical style of the piece. But 'My Perfect Mind' is such fun, the details of the performances so lovely, that the absence of a perfect conclusion hardly matters." Full Review

95
What's On Off Broadway

"'My Perfect Mind' is inspired silliness, lightly masking a warm chewy center of love for the theater and a determination to return to it. The show avoids the sentimental revelations that make many autobiographical shows feel like an extended psychoanalyst’s session. Instead it is a celebration, a joy to watch and be part of." Full Review

95
NY Theatre Guide

"Paul Hunter is a one-man repertory company...An actor’s life, be he a stroke victim or no, is a perilous one and it so very easy to lose one’s footing. But when the actor is Edward Petherbridge it simply does not apply. He is charm and grace personified. Like another great Shakespearean character, age cannot wither him, nor custom stale his infinite variety." Full Review

90
Stage Buddy

"The production contains the hallmark of a great British production: a biting sense of humor...Every time the silliness is played up, the way 'King Lear' echoes Petherbridge’s own life is played down, preventing the story from veering into schmaltz...Theatre is a tough business, fraught with competition, but 'My Perfect Mind' shows the interdependencies, the people and the relationships, that make the stage a place we all come together to 'see better.'" Full Review

100
Andy B Sports

"'My Perfect Mind' is an extraordinary play co- starring two incredible actors, Edward Petherbridge and Paul Hunter, the latter dazzling at a frenetic pace...There were so many moments of wisdom, references and humor, moving me in a great way, beyond words." Full Review

95
MuggleNet

"Despite its serious subject matter, 'My Perfect Mind' is a lively and spirited show, full of clowning, but still manages to be both moving and thought provoking...By the end, you’ve seen a farce, a commentary on a life spent in the theater, an autobiography of a man who’s lived a fascinating life, and a story of trauma and recovery all rolled into one." Full Review

95
Matt Trueman

for a previous production "All this, however, is handled with the most enormous sense of folly...For all it’s foolish, it’s hugely tender and for such a multi-faceted, fragmented show, it also moves with immense fluidity – a real credit to Kathryn Hunter’s keen-eyed direction. But it’s the layers of thought and the lightness of touch that makes 'My Perfect Mind' such an exquisite treat of a show." Full Review

85
The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "The entire show gurgles with merriment as it skewers luvvydom, pokes fun at conceptual art and offers tongue-in-cheek advice to theatre-makers on how to treat the audience...The theatrical in-jokes would wear thin, were it not for the fact that Petherbridge's mixture of bravado and frailty brings real heart to the enterprise...A funny, moving reminder that however much we aspire to be the king, we are all fools in one way or another." Full Review

60
Financial Times (UK)

for a previous production "Less satisfying and less profound than the show I had expected... Less profound, almost certainly: that the neurological landscape takes a distinct second place to the biographical gives us less chance to identify, to feel ourselves on the inside together with Petherbridge. Less satisfying, perhaps not: he is an immensely personable actor, and the style of the piece gives him extensive rein for asides and digressions which are almost always wryly self-deprecating... It would have been possib... Full Review

95
Victoria Sadler

for a previous production "Though I found the play really funny and exciting, there were a few who were a little baffled. Perhaps the pace was too fast for them, perhaps the lack of linear structure to the plot too confusing. I liked the obscurity as it demonstrates how the brain can play tricks. The vast majority of us though were in hysterics. 'My Perfect Mind' is an incredibly funny play and its message of the resilience of the human spirit is an important one that is beautifully made." Full Review

85
The Independent (UK)

for a previous production "It's a gently hilarious, intermittently (and understatedly) haunting double-act piece which plays sometimes daft, sometimes pointed variations on the Lear/Fool dynamic and is superbly directed...Through the luvvie-guying laughter, there is the always the chance of some situation arising that will crystallise a slightly disconcerting connection with Shakespeare's tragedy and balance the exquisite lightness of the show with a sudden intimation of depth." Full Review

85
Time Out London

for a previous production "There is an earnest intent behind ‘My Perfect Mind’s' madcap cocktail of memory and imagination, but its celebration of a life in the theatre is the very antithesis of stuffy luvvie backslapping. Spry as he is, odds are this will be Petherbridge’s last great role, but talk about a blaze of glory." Full Review

85
The London Evening Standard

for a previous production "Charming, sometimes very funny and occasionally bizarre...There are moments where the show edges towards being a parody of a high-concept dramatic provocation. Yet it is much more than that, suggesting the way performers are haunted — not just by the achievements of their predecessors but by ghostly intimations of where their own careers might have led. It’s a celebration of theatre’s special capacity to 'stab at the truth' in a way that seems difficult in real life." Full Review

90
What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production "Strange, and strangely beguiling, 90-minute vaudeville of King Lear...Don't miss it, is my advice, though you'll enjoy it all the more if you love your theatre history." Full Review

80
The Times (UK)

for a previous production "Edward Petherbridge’s greatest artistic achievement may well be this invigoratingly odd account, first seen here last year, of his doomed attempt to play 'King Lear'." Full Review

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