Music / “Melancholy & Mirth”, Salut! Baroque. At Albert Hall, February 22. Reviewed by Graham McDonald
IN Craig Wright’s very funny play, “Mistakes Were Made”, a harried theatre producer wheels and deals his way through a busy day at the office, juggling phone calls.
He wants a movie star to agree to a role that doesn’t yet exist in a play about the French revolution that he is planning to produce. At the same time he’s trying to convince the play’s author to add the lead role he’s just promised to the actor, setting off an avalanche of calls from playwright, actor and difficult agents.
Then calls come in from Europe about a hijacked truck of men and their load of sheep which were to make some money to help finance his play producing. Through all this he relies on his goldfish, Denise, to maintain his sanity.
James Scott gives an extraordinary and highly energetic performance as the producer, Felix Artifex, in this almost one-character play. Constantly ducking and weaving through several phone conversations at once, shouting at his secretary and feeding his fish, James Scott shows every facet of this fascinating character who relies on his gift of the gab to get through the day.
His secretary, Esther, is an unseen presence offstage for most of the play. Tijana Kovac gives a fine vocal performance as the secretary who relentlessly puts calls through to the producer and isn’t fazed by his increasing testiness. Using just her voice, Kovac skilfully shows that it’s just another day at the office for her character.
Amusingly wrangled by puppeteer, Jenny Ng, the fish, Denise, becomes an important character in the play.
Directors, Brendan Kelly and James Scott keep the pace and physical movement at the right frenzied level throughout. James Scott’s expert comic timing ensures that every funny line hits the spot.
This is a breathlessly funny play with a masterly performance from James Scott at its centre and it has a clever ending, too.