Sometimes, a title speaks for itself, and that’s unfortunately the case with Craig Wright’s Mistakes Were Made
. The play centers on a theater producer named Felix Artifex (the name in Latin means “lucky actor,” though luck is the last thing this crass huckster has) attempting to mount an epic Broadway show about the French Revolution called…well, Mistakes Were Made
. And just as that clusterfuck production crumbles—there’s some issue regarding sheep trafficking in the Middle East, a subplot best ignored—so too does this Artists Rep production fail to ignite. That’s in large part due to Wright’s script, essentially a one-sided phone conversation. Felix (Michael Mendelson, who also directs) storms about his office, gesticulating rabidly as he switches between a dozen phone extensions. The jokes flop, particularly one about Miley Cyrus playing Scout in a musical adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird
that left me with horrible images of the foam finger-clutching pop star teaching Boo Radley how to twerk. It’s perhaps churlish to say Mendelson is miscast as Felix—original star Todd Van Voris had to bow out because of a family emergency—but the actor lacks the necessary erratic presence to make the role work. Instead, Mendelson gasps and whines and moans with strange and inconsistent affect, and that’s not to mention his peripatetic accent, some confused blend of Boston and Britain. Spending most of the play with his eyes cast down, he leaves the audience feeling as distant and lost as those stranded sheep.
Artists Repertory TheatrePhone:
1515 SW Morrison St.Website: http://www.artistsrep.org/