Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

Mistakes Were Made
Act II Playhouse
Review by Rebecca Rendell

Also see Rebecca's recent reviews of The American Revolution and Cabaret

Tony Braithwaite
Photo by Mark Garvin
Mistakes Were Made is a dark comedy about everything it takes for a producer to bring a new play to the stage. The risible Tony Braithwaite directs and stars in Act II Playhouse's excellent presentation of this quirky play by Craig Wright. Mistakes Were Made premiered Off-Broadway (starring Michael Shannon) at the Barrow Street Theatre in November 2010. This production is not perfect–the script is a little bit dated and there are a few slow spots–but it is seriously entertaining and a whole lot of fun to watch.

Mistakes Were Made follows the story of a struggling producer Felix Artifex as he attempts to mount a new play (on Broadway) about the French Revolution. Along the way, financial difficulties, artistic differences with the playwright, and a series of personal and professional mistakes all threaten to derail the production. As Felix deals with the mounting setbacks and complications, he becomes increasingly desperate and delusional, and his relationships with his friends and colleagues begin to unravel. The entire play takes place in Felix's office, where an endless string of telephone calls ramp up his anxiety.

Tony Braithwaite is terrific as the frenzied and increasingly frazzled Felix. He displays spectacular comic timing, an especially impressive achievement since most of the dialogue he must respond to is nothing more than the unheard voice on the other side of a phone call. Office assistant Esther (Renee McFillin) has a few lines and a large fish puppet named Denise (puppeteered by assistant stage manager Laura Mancano) gets some big laughs, but Mistakes Were Made is mostly a one-man comedy. Braithwaite keeps the humor and the pace fast, but 75 minutes is a lot for any actor, and there are a few moments where the cadence feels slow or awkward.

Adam Riggar's simple and effective scenic design brings the audience right into the office with the increasingly unstable producer. The theatrical posters decorating the walls are hilarious and worth a close look while you are in the theater.

Mistakes Were Made runs through April 16, 2023, at Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Ave., Ambler PA. For tickets and information, please visit, call the Act II Box Office at 215-654-0200, or visit the Box Office from Monday-Saturday, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Tony Braithwaite as Felix Artifex
Renee McFillin as Esther

Tony Braithwaite: Director Nick Cardillo: Assistant Director
Paul Dake: Production Stage Manager
Laura Mancano: Assistant Stage Manager and puppeteer
Adam Riggar: Scenic Designer
James Leitner: Lighting Designer
Adam Danoff: Sound Designer
Alice Dake: Scenic Painter