Thursday 24th September 2009
It’s a truism that press nights are fraught affairs. The actors submit to being judged on the one night that their nerves are at breaking point, the writer allows their play to be given just the one hearing, and critics have to make an instant call on whether it’s a hit or a miss. So, when I went to the press night of Lucy Prebble’s Enron at the Royal Court earlier this week, I can’t honestly say that there was a spring in my step. On this occasion, things were even more tense than usual. Since the entire run had already been sold out, the pressure was on: if the tube I needed broke down, if the taxi I took got stuck in traffic, or if the heavens opened and I got soaked to the skin, I wouldn’t get another chance to see the show. Well, not until it’s West End transfer in January! Also, the play’s reputation went before it. The audience was full of celebs, as well as the show’s supporters. Which, in my experience, always results in a highly unstable concoction of clashing egos and erratic mood swings. Finally, I had already seen the show at Chichester and wondered how Rupert Goold’s supremely confident and generous production would fit onto the smaller Royal Court stage. Would the venue cramp its style? In the event, I needn’t have worried. I arrived on time, the show went well and the staging was just fine: and it was exciting to see once again the best new play of the year.
© Aleks Sierz