London "Enron" Play Headed to Broadway
by: Ed Mayberry, February 15, 2010 5:02:00 am
Freelance theater critic Roger Foss is a regular on London talk radio station LBC, which can be heard online. He appears on the early-morning "Steve Allen Show."
"Yeah, Steve Allen is one of our very well-known, very well-loved radio presenters. I would say, again, a very conversational style, and he's known for his—how can I put it?—I mean, celebrities don't stand a chance with Steve Allen! He loves to have a go at the whole culture of celebrity, so that's one of the areas."
Roger Foss has seen the evolution of "Enron," which is now at the Noël Coward Theater in London.
"The point about this production is that you don't need to have read the financial pages. You don't really need to have read all the detail. You've got Jeffrey Skilling, you've got Andrew Fastow, the—I think he was the chief financial officer wasn't he?"
Ed: "That's right, yes."
"So you've got the president, you've got the CFO and you've got Ken Lay, of course. I think he must have founded the company."
Ed: "He did. And Samuel West is singled out in most of the reviews I've seen as particularly good as Jeff Skilling."
"The performance is quite something. As we speak, Samuel West is nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor, along with five other nominations for the Olivier Awards only just announced, so the characters are engaging and interesting and fascinating. It's not that you're seduced by the way in which the story is told, through dance, almost, as well and through amazing video projections and a tickertape that gives you all the information on what the financial state of the company is and how it grows and how the money's coming in, or appears to be. You actually feel, or I felt you felt, as though 'Wow! I want to be part of this Enron thing!' It just seemed like such a good deal back in the 90s you know? You feel the excitement, the time!"
Ed: "Well, now how did someone—28 when she started writing it—second play, how did Lucy Prebble grasp this and make it into such a success?"
"I think part of this comes from her own background. Her father is the CEO of a big multinational software company and so she's got some sort of understanding of how business works. But she's keyed up with a director here—Rupert Goold—the hottest director in town, here in London. When you get someone like Jeffrey Skilling, you kind of—well, you don't feel sorry for him because he turns into a pretty charismatic character, but he becomes quite scary as well. And also on stage, there is that kind of final crack-up."
London theater critic Roger Foss. "Enron" comes to Broadway in April.