My blog has quite a lot of posts about Samuel West (Julius Caesar, On Chesil Beach and Darkest Hour) and Charles Edwards (My Fair Lady Australian tour and Henry IX).

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Samuel West - Theatre - Enron

[updated 19 March 2011: pictures removed]

A tweet from Sam:
"ENRON Press Night just down. A few hiccups but nothing terminal. Many cheers at curtain. Onward!"


"...The whole show is driven by Samuel West, giving the performance of his career as Skilling. As the CEO’s power grows and his strategies become ever more outrageous, West’s very appearance seems to change, from geeky overweight nerd to a lean, mean master of the universe for whom, like Richard III, no action is too outrageous. Charismatic, scary, and finally cracking up spectacularly, this is high-definition acting of a very high order indeed..."

"...At the heart of Prebble's tale is a superb performance by Samuel West as Jeffrey Skilling, the architect of the fraud. First glimpsed as a plump, gauche but ambitious executive, we see him gradually take control of Enron and enact his own fantasy of selling everything, including the weather. West captures every twitch of a man wholly driven by the need to make money, not so much for its own sake but by the need to create something innovative. Driven eventually into mental disintegration, West gives us a vision of a man driven by his obsession with Enron stock price, because, as he tells his daughter, that’s how he knows how much he’s worth..."

Evening Standard
"...Prebble’s great skill lies in her ability to take us through complex concepts with ease, without bemusing or, worse, patronising us...West superbly suggests a monomaniacal man powered by something far more interesting than mere greed, namely a brilliance with theoretical concepts that eventually disconnects him entirely from reality..."

"...Prebble and the director, Rupert Goold, not only address and explain previously bamboozling financial terms, in constantly stimulating, ingenious ways, they also keep an adroit balance between the epic and the intimate...West makes Skilling sympathetic without ever making him likeable. He’s not just trying to get rich; he’s trying to stay out of Hell. Tim Pigott-Smith gives strong support as chairman Ken Lay. The entire cast of 16 is superb..."

The Stage
"...The world premiere of Lucy Prebble’s new play about the development of sharp practices which eventually brought about the demise of the ENRON Corporation is a piece of very tight writing which has been remarkably staged by director Rupert Goold...Samuel West gave an sensitive yet spirited performance as the ideas man Jeffrey Skilling..."

"...It's both a sharp, satirical diagnosis of the state we're in, as well as a new Brechtian epic of the rise and fall of a gangster produced and legitimised by the environment of the day. West builds an appropriately resonant performance, stuck on the simply devastating questions of his own daughter and the vanity of his own campaign. And he also pulls off the not inconsiderable feat of allowing us to like him..."

[another review] "...Samuel West excels himself in his portrayal of Jeffrey Skilling, the Ivy League ideas man who takes control as CEO. We see West transform from a nerdy visionary – initially advocating clean energy – into a money-obsessed, desperately unethical exec..."

"...Lucy Prebble's hugely ambitious play, covering the rise and fall of the Texan energy company, Enron, is an exhilarating mix of political satire, modern morality and multimedia spectacle...The power of Samuel West's fine performance as Skilling lies in its very lack of demonism. In West's assured hands, Skilling becomes a man who combines brilliance and stupidity and grows from a nerdy ordinariness into a tycoon through the idea that future income can be written down as earnings the moment a deal is signed..."

[another review] "...Rupert Goold's tremendous production of Lucy Prebble's first-rate new play...Samuel West is powerfully intelligent as Jeff Skilling..."

The Public Reviews
"...there are some fine performances here; Samuel West brings depth and pathos to Jeffrey Skilling as we see his decline into desperation. The work Tom Goodman-Hill is at times hugely comic and twisted as he seeks to impress his worth to West’s Skilling. There is an excellent ensemble at work here with weight added by Tim Piggott-Smith and Amanda Drew. The cast as whole are stunning in their efforts... Lucy Prebble’s economic, weighted and crisp text..."

Portsmouth Today
"...Samuel West, as Jeffrey Skilling, runs the gamut from arrogant, self-assured, hugely-successful businessman to equally arrogant but broken pariah and never puts a foot wrong.
Skilling is unsympathetic and while never actually liking the character, West's strength is that he does make you care. His scenes with the equally-watchable Tom Goodman-Hill are skilful and slick..."

Daily Express
"...There are also some stunning performances – in particular, Samuel West as the cunning Jeff Skilling. There is more than a hint of Robert Maxwell about his interpretation of the role.
He combines an arrogant determination with a callous lack of care about his fellow workers.
West will suddenly give his face a little twist – a dark signal that he is about to become even more unscrupulous in his business dealings. His anger at not always getting what he wants immediately is scary..."

Remote Goat
"...Jeffrey Skilling was brilliantly played by Samuel West, moving rapidly through intense emotions of exceptional drive, frustration, despair and arrogance..."

Sussex Expresss
"...the show belongs to Samuel West who plays chief executive Jeffrey Skilling. He captures all the intense self-deluded passion of a man who believed he was transforming the way in which a world does business – while in reality turning himself into a common crook, ruining thousands of investors and employees in the process..."

Bognor Regis Observer
"...Samuel West gives a bravura performance as Jeffrey Skilling..."

"...Samuel West is superb as Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling. He plays him as a tubby, socially awkward geek who transforms first into a lean, mean deceiving machine and then into a broken wreck..."

Wall Street Journal
"...Sam West isn't at first recognizable as Jeff, for he's nerdy, heavyset and awkward. Mr. West's transformation is itself breathtaking, as he sheds weight before our eyes, gains confidence and sets about proving that 'all wealth is debt...'"


Geraint Lewis
Alastair Muir/Evening Standard
Manuel Harlan/Wall Street Journal
Tristram Kenton/Daily Mail, The Guardian

1 comment:

April Parkinson said...

Amanda is just gorgeous :)

Thanks for the pics!