By Mal Vincent
The Virginian-Pilot
© September 15, 2011
Follow the money and you’ll get at the truth.

But wait a minute! Following the money is not that easy in a society that has been turned upside down by one of the biggest recessions of modern times. Add to the mix that it was all inspired by greed, and you look for a villain. Add to the confusion when you realize the villains are all around us. One target is Enron, the company whose double-dealing actually resulted in jail sentences.

“Delightfully Corrupt,” and “A Rolicking Evening of Theater!”
- Mal Vincent, Virginian-Pilot

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You’d hardly think it a subject for a rollicking evening of theater. Think again. Check out the Generic Theater’s performances through Oct. 2 of “Enron.” The London hit and Broadway flop has been turned into an imaginative outing that is as double-dealing as its subject.

Here they are, future jailbirds who hide their losses (at least until they get caught). Here is a young conniver who plays the dirty game adeptly. Here is a powerful, cold woman who makes many of her deals stretched on top of office desks. Here is a cast deftly mixed and rehearsed to perfection by director Matthew Friedman.

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Technically, the show is by far the most intricate, and eye-boggling, in the long history of the Generic Theater. Images flash on all sides above the playing area that serves as a stage. Local newscasters, such as Cathy Lewis and Barbara Ciara, mouth breathless mock news reports that show how the stock is turning. They add credibility to an incredible situation.

Kent Collins is both ruthless and boyish as Jeff Skilling, the wonder boy leader of Enron who, seemingly, turns a profit no matter the tactics. Ethan Marten is eerily conniving and sniveling as Andy Fastow, the rise-at-all-costs climber who, as pictured here, masterminds the hiding of losses. Marten is so convincing that you half expect him to take the stage twirling a dark moustache. Chris Kypros, known for his piano accompaniment of silent movies at the Naro Expanded Cinema, is both boisterous and naive as Ken Lay, the elder head of the company who seems oblivious to what his young whippersnappers are doing.

Deadliest of all is Jeannette Rainey as Claudia Roe, a dragon lady of high finance who pushes around the big boys and eventually falls victim to her own game. You can hardly believe she’s the same nice person who usually introduces plays at the Generic.

They are backed by a cast of almost 20 – both live and on film. For the intimate Generic playing area, that’s quite a horde.