Wednesday, 6 March 2013

My Perfect Night at the Theatre. . .

Remember Edward Petherbridge who portrayed Lord Peter Wimsey in the BBC series?

He's one of a handful of British actors (well, there are scores actually) with such a smooth musical voice that if he were reading the shipping forecast, even I would find it mesmerizing.  And last night I got to see him live in Liverpool!

He's performing this week at the Unity Theatre with Paul Hunter in a brilliant two-hander called My Perfect Mind that recounts his experiences having a stroke just before he was due to play King Lear in New Zealand.

Alongside flashbacks to his childhood growing up in Bradford, reminiscences of his mother who had a stroke two days before he was born, and his deceased brother who worked as a policeman, there were also plenty of entertaining and wry observations about the crazy world of theatre with some particularly hilarious encounters with Laurence Olivier (Hunter plays all the secondary characters with enjoyably manic aplomb and the simple use of props).  We also get a taste of what his Lear would have been like as the audience are treated to plenty of scenes from the play,  including a surreal storm scene, after which Petherbridge (who flits back and forth between himself and Lear) turned to the audience and remarked something along the lines of: "This isn't the production of Lear that I wanted to be in. It's the Tate Modern on a really bad day." Which rather sums up the zaniness of the production that was mostly conducted on a stage tilted at a 45 degree angle. 

It was great fun and that voice has not lost any of Wimsey's drollness.  I absolutely loved it.

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