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A Red Orchid Theatre's Mistakes Opens Off-Broadway

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 23, 2010 5:20PM

2010_11_23mistakesweremade.jpg When Mistakes Were Made opened here last year, we wouldn't have predicted it'd be heading for The Big Apple. Sure, Michael Shannon is an Oscar nominee, and his stage presence is absolutely riveting, but we figured that an extended play that consists almost entirely of a single character talking on the phone would be a bit of hard sell for the New York stage. Luckily, we were wrong.

A Red Orchid Theatre's world premiere production has been transplanted to Off-Broadway with original director Dexter Bullard intact. Shannon plays luckless theatrical producer Felix Artiflex, whose latest venture is on the verge of falling apart (it if was ever actually together in the first place); only a merry-go-round of frantic conversations on the 10-line phone in his office can possibly stave off ruin.

We described Shannon's performance as "volcanic," and reviews of the new production are slathering the erstwhile Chicagoan thespian with plenty of praise: "nasty and cutting and arrogant, but he’s also damn funny"; "typically intense but hilarious"; and "a symphonic one-man meltdown." Even Charles Isherwood at The New York Times, who concludes that the play "is only fitfully entertaining and ultimately something of a grind," singles out Shannon for a performance that's "as meticulously naturalistic in detail as it is vivid in its churning anger and anxiety."

The show is currently scheduled to run through January 4 at the Barrow Street Theatre. When it played here in town tickets were $30, but a seat at the NYC production will set you back $45-95. A Red Orchid just opened an all-female version of The Iliad.