Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  

Photo: Andrée Lanthier

Photo: Andrée Lanthier

Lucy Prebble has taken on a lot in her play Enron, about the energy giant whose name has become synonymous with systematic, paneed out corporate fraud. The play tries to cover the rise of the corporation, the characters involved in it, as well as the impact its demise had on the workers. There are raptors representing the shadow companies Enron used to unload its losses onto and there are musical numbers. Add to this  bobble-head president stand-ins and you have a meandering mess of elements that fail to come together in a script that not only takes too much, but doesn’t know what it actually wants to say about its chosen theme. Director Ron Jenkins creates a slick production with some interesting elements, but he was ultimately fighting a losing battle with material that lacked substance.

Credit should be given to Jenkins for giving this production his best go. The direction is smooth and flashy with some very appropriate blocking. Jenkins isn’t afraid to use the full performance space, which makes the performance more dynamic. Likewise, the way the reports sometimes slithered up to the main characters, Jeffrey Skilling (played by Dmitry Chepovetsky) and his financial sidekick Andy Fastow (Eric Davis) was creepy and gave an ominous sense of foreboding. The functional set, designed by Brian Smith, was multi-leveled and ultra modern, with pillars at the back the cast move in and out of. Michael Walton’s lighting design added a touch of drama to the play, but didn’t quite match creations he has done in the past, such as An Slowly Beaty…

Dmitry Chepovetsky as Jeff Skilling, the genius and mastermind behind the action at Enron is a bit one dimensional. Chepovetsky doesn’t quite flesh out the character, making it hard to find any kind of sympathy or understanding for him. Eric Davis plays CFO Andy Fastow with more subtlety, offering more range. We understand that, although practically morally bereft, Fastow is still a human with different sides to him. I particularly enjoyed Joey Tremblay’s Ken Lay as the CEO and Chairman of Enron. His leisurely southern drawl and strut were exactly what one would expect form a rich businessman who is slightly removed from the real world, but plays one heck of a golf game with the heavy hitters of Washington politics. Tremblay manages to infuse him with some warmth.

The problem with Enron is that it never really finds its stride or meaning. Although the production does its best to bring out the play’s good elements, it ultimately falls flat because, for all its length and complexity, the play actually has very little to say about its subject matter. No amount of musical numbers or raport heads can hide the fact that, at its core, much like Enron, the play rests on an empty foundation without much to say for itself.

 

Enron

By Lucy Prebble

National Arts Centre English Theatre

Director: Ron Jenkins

Set and costumes: Brian Smith

Lighting: Michael Watson

Sound: Matthew Skopyk

Choreographer: Laura Krewski

Videos: James Nesbitt

Cast:

Claudia Roe/Board Mouse/Trader…………………….Petrina Bromley

Lawyer/Board Mouse/Trader/Raptor etc……………..Christine Brubaker

Jeffrey Skilling………………………………………..Dmitry Chepovetsky

Board Mouse/Trader/Analyst etc. …………………… David Coomber

Andy Fastow/Funeral guest…………………………..Eric Davis

Board Mouse/Skilling’s daughter/Raptor etc…………Leah Doz

Trader/Arthur Anderson/Lehman Brother etc………..Sheldon Elter

Trader/Journalist/Court Officer etc…………………..Quancetia Hamilton

Board Mouse/Trader/Raptor etc………………………Eliza-Jane Scott

Ken Lay/Lehman Brother etc…………………………Joey Tremblay