WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Lucy Prebble’s ENRON arrives at the Theatre Royal this week with a great sense of anticipation, after all this is the five-star hit that recently finished a critically acclaimed run in the West End.
On Paper it might all look potentially rather dull – charting the spectacular rise and devastating fall of the Texan energy company. But then, the difference between how things look and how they actually are is a matter at the centre of this real-life drama. On paper, ENRON was a phenomenon that hit a high of $90 per share … a price that plummeted by the end of 2001 when the scandal was uncovered, causing shareholders to lose billions.
Rupert Goold sets out his visual stall from the opening moments, when three blind mice in business suits tap their white canes across the stage. From then on it doesn’t let up – a light sabre dance routine to represent the chaos electricity deregulation caused in California, Raptors in the basement being fed dollar bills to show us how non-existent shadow companies ate up ENRON’s debts, blind folded lawyers blaming hand-puppet accountants, and so it goes on.
The four main players are all incredibly good, supported by an equally talented and versatile ensemble. It is Paul Chahidi as Jeffrey Skelling-worshipper turned master-of-deception CFO Andy Fastow who threatens to steal the show though – the scenes of him in his damp basement lair petting his Raptor creations with his tie wrapped round his head Rambo-style are highlights.
The creative team, including designer Anthony Ward, pack the stage with light and movement and video and song that makes a potentially closed world and subject very accessible.
At nearly two and a half hours it does feel overlong, perhaps due to the fact that some things are repeated – ie; one trading floor dance routine was enough, I don’t need two to hammer the point home.
A play about financial crisis, greed and ruin might not loom large on your list of things to see at the moment, but when it’s done with this much imagination and flair it’s hard to look away from.
The words style over substance did spring to mind on more than one occasion, but the whole thing is so slickly put together and well executed that it is hard to tell where one starts and the other ends.
- by Alison Carr