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Theatre Review: Enron at Television Workshop

13 March 18 words: Jared Wilson

The annual season at Television Workshop kicked off with a play about a financial scandal that took place on the other side of the world before some of the cast were born...

Enron at Television Workshop - Photo by Jared Wilson

Enron at Television Workshop - Photo by Jared Wilson

The Enron Corporation; one of the world’s biggest energy companies founded in 1985. Based out in Houston, Texas and employing some 20,000 staff before it went bankrupt in spectacular fashion in December 2001.

So what does this have to do with the Television Workshop, a Notts-based breeding ground for young actors founded two years earlier, employing a small handful of staff and still going strong despite many funding-related obstacles along the way?

Not much until now. But director Siobhan Cannon-Brownlie decided to get a bunch of the workshoppers to take on the roles of some of the millennium’s most powerful business people. The play is written by Lucy Prebble (also author of The Sugar Syndrome and Secret Diary of a Call Girl) and has been taken on by other directors and actors and shown on Broadway (US), Iceland, Finland and more.

Enron at Television Workshop - Photo by Jared Wilson

Enron at Television Workshop - Photo by Jared Wilson

I’ve not seen any of the previous versions, but any fears I had about teenage kids from Top Valley taking on the mantles of fifty year-olds from Texas were allayed in minutes. It’s lively, silly, funny and yet also at times dark and broody. With very limited means Cannon-Brownlie has done an amazing job of getting a bunch of really talented young actors together to create something amazing in a setting so grass-roots that it still has a tuck shop.

The performances are excellent all-round, although particular mention should go to Charles Evans (Jeffrey Skilling) who makes an excellent lead, Cainaan Skeels (Ken Lay) who is convincing as a sixty-something Texan, Stuart Quigley (who plays various roles, but is laugh out loud as Arthur Andersen) and Charlie Nicholson (Andy Fastow) who goes from feeble to ferocious.

It’s another great triumph. This is the workshop that has produced Samantha Morton, Vicky McClure, Joe Dempsie, Jack O’Connell, Aisling Loftus, Toby Kebbell, Bella Ramsay, Mista Jam and many more. Their season lasts another three weeks. If you want to see guaranteed acting talent of the future then go see them.

The Television Workshop

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