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The Mistake

General-Tibbets-holding-a-model-of-the-B29-bomber. © The-Mistake-by-Michael-Mears-2022.

The Mistake, written by Michael Mears, performed by Michael Mears and Riko Nakazono, directed by Rosamunde Hutt. The Bear Pit, Stratford-upon-Avon. 20 September 2023. Running time 80 minutes, no interval.


The Mistake by Michael Mears was one of the successes at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, being winner of a Spirit of the Fringe Award Edinburgh 2022 and shortlisted for the Sit-Up Award Edinburgh 2022. This was followed by a sell-out run at London’s trailblazing Arcola theatre.

This urgent new play explores the events surrounding the catastrophic ‘mistake’ that launched our nuclear age.

1942. On a squash court in Chicago a dazzling scientific experiment takes place, which three years later will destroy a city and change the world – forever.

Riko Nakazono in The Mistake. Photo © Michael Mears, The Mistake.

Two actors, one British, one Japanese, enact the compelling stories of a brilliant Hungarian scientist, a daring American pilot and a devoted Japanese daughter, in a fast-moving drama about the dangers that arise when humans dare to unlock the awesome power of nature.

Michael Mears has been working as a professional actor for four decades, in theatre, film and television. He has worked for all the major theatre companies, including the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Peter Hall Company, and performed in London’s West End on numerous occasions, most notably for nine months in the long-running hit The Woman In Black. He is regarded as having that rare combination of being a fine writer and a formidable actor.

Riko Nakazono in The Mistake. Photo © Michael Mears, The Mistake.

TV work includes Sharpes Rifles (three series), The Lenny Henry Show (two series), Parades End, Sanditon and The Crown.

Film work includes Four Weddings and a Funeral, Little Dorrit, The Good Soldier Schwejk and Last Night In Soho.

He has written three solo plays for the stage and seven solo plays for BBC Radio 4, all of which were performed by himself. His 1990’s play about homelessness, Soup, won a Scotsman Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival.

His recent acclaimed solo play This Evil Thing, depicting the struggle of Britain’s WW1 conscientious objectors, was performed by him over 100 times between 2016-2019, in many parts of the UK including at The Bear Pit in 2017.

THE MISTAKE is Michael’s first play for two actors.


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