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, 24 September 2009

Samuel West - Theatre - Enron

[updated 19 March 2011]

A tweet from Sam:

"End-on ENRON: tore through my opening last night. Am no longer a Royal Court virgin. About time too..."


Financial Times
"...Skilling, then, in Samuel West's superb performance, is not simply a villain. He is positively creepy when we first meet him: a pasty-faced nerd who harangues his colleagues for not understanding his ingenious mark-to-market idea. And there is a chilly ruthlessness about him as he manoeuvres to become president of the company. But West also conveys the loneliness and seething impatience of a man who is much cleverer than those around him, and who has an almost visionary grasp of the potential of the market. As the company share price rockets, West's Skilling evolves into a slimmer, sleeker individual: madly charismatic and high, like Richard III, on his own brilliance..."

City AM
"...At the heart of the action is Jeff Skilling, the amoral nerd who turned Enron from an energy company into a trading colossus. Samuel West delivers a blazing performance as Skilling..."

"...at its centre is the tragic figure of the Enron president, Jeffrey Skilling, whom Samuel West brilliantly presents as a geeky, rather childish champion of the mark-to-market philosophy turning first into a predatory shark of the trading floor and then an anguished victim of his own obsessive empire-building..."

Evening Standard
"...At the centre is Skilling. When we first see him he is a hopeless nerd, yet he transforms himself into a swaggering √úbermensch. It’s a role in which Sam West positively revels; he is perfect as this suave, grandiloquent and crass overreacher.
Prebble suggests that the trouble with economic evangelists of his stripe is that their message is so appealingly fantastic. We are sucked in by their stories, and we keep being sucked in, rather than learning to be sceptical..."

"...Lucy Prebble's play and Rupert Goold's production are so strong that they survive the move. What they vividly offer is not a lecture on corporate madness but an ultra-theatrical demonstration of it at work...Samuel West is hugely impressive as the self-deluded Skilling. It is difficult to feel sympathy for such a man, whose deregulation policies did so much damage, but West reminds us of the global complicity in money worship. Amanda Drew as his rival, Tim Pigott-Smith as Enron's avuncular founder, and Tom Goodman-Hill as the greed-driven Fastow, haunted by the scaly raptors which symbolise the shadow-companies, are also first-rate..."

The Arts Desk
"...At the centre of the play is Jeffrey Skilling, Enron's top executive, played with immense flair and sympathy by Sam West, who grows before our eyes from a shy nerdish geek into one of those Master-of-the-Universe types whose overweening confidence and blatant disregard for mere mortals makes you impatient to see, and enjoy, their comeuppance...Supported by equally superb acting by Tim Pigott-Smith as Lay, Tom Goodman-Hill as Fastow and Amanda Drew as Roe, West presents Skilling as a complex character and thus anchors the play, which is brimming with ideas, in human reality..."

The Times
"...it’s Samuel West’s superb playing of this role [Jeff Skilling] that gives the play a near-tragic feel. You shouldn’t sympathise with a man who ruined thousands, but he’s the victim of his obsession, which is to please his boss, Tim Pigott-Smith’s folksy yet ruthless Ken Lay, by keeping the stock price high. Imagine a plump school swot losing his nerdishness along with his specs as he grows in sleekness and hubris, only to end up an embattled, sobbing wreck; and you have imagined the human graph that West charts..."


Telegraph [link]
The Times [link]


unknown/telegraph.co.uk, thisislondon.co.uk
Tristram Kenton/guardian.co.uk

After party (guests included David Tennant, Richard Wilson and Harriet Walter) and press night curtain call

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