This audiobook was my very first opportunity to be a "Solid Gold Reviewer" through Audiobook Jukebox. Doesn't that sound cool? Makes me want to put on my gold lame jumpsuit and do a dance for you. I had originally requested to review this audio because I've always been fascinated with the disaster that was Enron, being someone intimately familiar with the slippery slope of corporate greed. I loved the documentary "The Smartest Guys in the Room", and I'm always open to learn more.
But this was not at all what I was expecting. In my fully-realized audio world, I have never listened to a theater production, but that is what this was. I was taken aback at first, but then became invested. Let me tell you a little about what you should expect to hear:
Synopsis: Lucy Prebble is a young (only 30), edgy, British playwright who has constructed a stage production of the Enron scandal that originally debuted in London to sold-out crowds. It came over the pond to Broadway a year later, only to be slammed by the New York Times and quickly shut down. Nevertheless, it went on to earn various awards, and has now been performed by the L.A. Theater Works in front of a live audience and made into an audio book.
From a layman's viewpoint, Prebble has taken all the complicated details of Enron's failings (mark-to-market accounting, market trading and hedging, playing the shell game with debt, and manipulating Wall Street for the best stock ratings), and making it understandable to everyone. And at the same time, making it entertaining and amusing. And shocking. At one point, Prebble uses the analogy of Raptors, hiding in Enron's basement, cared for by the CFO, eating the dollar bills that are the company's debt. They are hungry, they want fed, and eventually they escape because Raptors ultimately cannot be contained.
For an hour and a half, at the hands of a full cast, prepare yourself for a crash course in all things corrupt. Prepare for the ultimate cautionary tale of bad karma (or Raptors) biting you in the ass. Prepare to be entertained.
My thoughts: As I said before, I was taken aback when I first started listening to this production. It was unnerving to be LISTENING to a stage production, but unable to see it. The actors were doing things, and I could only guess by their words what was occurring. (Well, there was one scene where two employees of Enron were getting it on at the office at night...I didn't need to see that!)
But like all things audio, I did get used to it, and I began to enjoy it. I thought Prebble's interpretation of the Enron scandal was clever and nicely boiled down to the pertinent facts. While I did laugh out loud on many occasions, Prebble was able to instill moments of levity, which I thought was only appropriate. Many people lost their life savings because of these pompous, narcissistic goons, and should be appreciated.
A quick word of caution - foul language ahoy. Don't listen when your kids are in the car.
I've read that the L.A. Theater Works produces other audios of the classics like Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, and Chekov. Since I would consider this experience a success, I'll look forward to experimenting with this format more often.
4 out of 5 stars