Review: Enron*****

At Sheffield Lyceum

It's impossible to watch Enron without wondering if you're going to be the boy who cries "The Emperor's New Clothes". Rarely has a play been so highly praised – and so utterly derided. I can confirm that the Emperor is not naked and this is the

real deal.

Enron, written by former Sheffield University student Lucy Prebble, is in Steel City this week. The play opened in Chichester and you've rarely seen reviews like it – until the play transferred to London, where it was even more highly praised.

Then it went to Broadway and the critics were savage.

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The Americans don't really understand the European sensibility when it comes to theatre, clearly, because this is a theatrical experience like few others.

Perhaps they just didn't like the fact that a woman playwright in her mid-twenties had the audacity to take on a story as complex as the rise and fall of Texan energy company Enron and turn it into the most entertaining theatre piece I've seen all year.

Enron tells the story of how the company went from being the surest thing on the stock market to the biggest financial failure in America's history. Prebble does not tell the story of the collapse, but of the personalities involved in it.

As Jeffrey Skilling, the Smartest Guy in the Room and Enron's CEO, Corey Johnson is magnetic.

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Paul Chahidi as the scheming Andy Fastow is equally compelling in an entirely different way.

The reason why you should see it now, however, is because the biggest talent on show is that of director Rupert Goold. Prebble's script is, clearly, brilliant, but what he achieves with it is nothing short of staggering.

He throws not so much a bag of tricks at this production, as conjure every trick ever imagined in theatre and then some. From line dancing cowboy stock traders to giant blind mice, this could so easily be a mess, but Goold is obviously a special kind of directing genius. The play may not stand the test of time, but this production is clearly a theatrical landmark.

To October 30.