Circle Theatre’s area premiere of Mistakes Were Made will close this Saturday (June 30). Craig Wright’s comedy about a New York stage producer trying to salvage his professional and personal life with an ill-conceived Broadway play about the French Revolution is a flawed piece of work made utterly watchable by actor Steven Pounders.
For most of this 90 minute, no-intermission show it’s just Pounders with a bluetooth device stuck in his ear, trying to juggle the egos and wounded feelings of unseen actors, writers, agents, and an ex-wife with whom he’s trying to reconnect. He rarely makes the obvious choices with his producer character –– he doesn’t leap out of the gate as a fast-talking slimebag, for one thing –– so we’re consistently charmed and engaged even when Wright’s script veers between predictable and chaotic. As directed by Harry Parker, Pounders is responsible for every ounce of comic and dramatic credibility this show has.
Unfortunately, playwright Wright never makes a strong connection between the French Revolution plot of the Broadway play Pounders is trying to mount and a rather odd subplot about a violent revolution in a faraway country where the producer is trying to finance his New York production. Even stranger is the wide-eyed presence of a fish (actually, a fish puppet) in an aquarium in the producer’s office, which was presumably supposed to provide silent comic contrast to the lead character’s tirades but instead often just pulls focus. Mistakes Were Made is a messy curiosity redeemed by the ingenuity of an uncommonly gifted actor.