The Lehman Trilogy has found its home at the Piccadilly Theatre in recent weeks and it’s a production that you truly must see.
Back in 2008, the greatest financial devastation since the Great Depression started to rear its ugly head; all on the back of one of the largest bankruptcy filings America has ever seen. It was September of 2008, and the top, most successful brokerage firm, Lehman Brothers, collapsed – leaving in its wake a trail of financial ruin.
As a production for the National Theatre, The Lehman Trilogy has been adapted from Stefano Massini’s play. Wonderfully put together by Ben Power and directed by the phenomenally talented director Sam Mendes, The Lehman Trilogy tells the story of the three men behind the world-renowned corporation. The story starts the moment the three brothers from Rimpar, Bavaria – Henry (Simon Russell Beale), Emanuel (Ben Miles) and Mayer (Adam Godley) Lehman – made the epic crossing to America sometime in the mid-1840s.
This is a very long production; but in no means do you feel it as an audience member. The production is so epic you feel swept along through the entire story. Plus, as it is divided into three acts of nearly an hour long, you are never captivated for too long, however, it is so in-depth you can get a real sense and understanding of the whole family spanning nearly two centuries. Ben Power has worked wonderfully on the script and the whole dialogue flows effortlessly in a wonderful storytelling rhythm that is backed up by Candida Caldicot’s beautiful piano.
The set has been impressively put together by Ed Devlin: it’s a revolving, giant glass box split in different rooms that does give the very real impression of an office block in the centre of New York. This is backed up by the wonderful backdrops that feature throughout the story; from the plantations of Alabama up to the Skyline of New York.
We have to give massive praise for the direction and the actors, as their accents change as the time moves on within the production. Of course, their accents start as clear German however soon evolve as their time in America deepens. Not only that, but Beale, Miles and Godley do have to receive heaps of praise; they play three generations of the Lehman men but also play supporting roles and the way in which the characters evolve as the stories progress seems to sweep the audience away from the real world and direct into the play.
Although it is a long play, we certainly did not feel like it was. The direction, set design, acting and even the music allowed for us to be swept away on this fantastic story that spans nearly 174 years. Everything in this production just utterly clicks and we cannot recommend it highly enough. We will certainly be back again to watch this awe-inspiring tale that will leave you feeling like you have seen a true, and real, West End performance.