Triumphant Tale of Ambition and Ruin: The Lehman Trilogy Takes Sydney by Storm

The Lehman Trilogy at Theatre Royal Sydney stands as a testament to the evolving landscape of theatre, where plays, particularly ones as lauded as this, are transitioning to international stages at a pace previously unseen, especially when compared to musicals. This rapid global transition is exemplified by this show, which, after its triumphant win of five Tony Awards in 2022, has made its way to Australian audiences in just two years.

Directed by Sam Mendes, this epic narrative weaves through the annals of American capitalism and dreams through the lens of the Lehman brothers, from their roots in 1844 as hopeful immigrants to their eventual downfall, igniting the global financial crisis. This journey is not just a tale of financial empire-building but a profoundly personal story of ambition, family bonds, and the inevitable hubris leading to downfall. The play’s adaptation by Ben Power from Stefano Massini’s original work highlights the nuanced interplay between personal ambition and the broader societal impacts of financial decisions.

The production’s minimalist yet deeply effective set design by Es Devlin, featuring a dynamic rotating glass box, and the exceptional musical score further elevate the narrative, offering audiences an immersive experience. The ability of Howard W. Overshown, Aaron Krohn, and Adrian Schiller to portray over 50 characters showcases not only the versatility and depth of their acting prowess but also the human aspect of the historical events the play chronicles.

What also stands out is its exceptional musical accompaniment, significantly enhanced by the talents of Cat Beveridge, the principal pianist. Beveridge’s fantastic contribution throughout the play adds an emotional depth and texture that elevates the storytelling to new heights. The score, composed by Nick Powell, with musical direction by Candida Caldicott, seamlessly integrates with the narrative, guiding the audience through the highs and lows of the Lehman brothers’ saga.

The Lehman Trilogy is more than a play; it’s a mirror to the past and a lens on the present, encapsulating the essence of the American dream and its complexities with a global narrative. Its journey from the Tony Awards to the Theatre Royal in Sydney is a remarkable indicator of how art transcends boundaries, bringing crucial conversations to new audiences and broadening our understanding of the world through the power of theatre.

– The other Daniel Craig


Daniel Craig is an international performer and has established himself as a trusted theatre specialist on the Sydney Arts Scene. While he understands the technical side of theatre, Dan writes for the everyday theatregoer (unlike some of those more prominent publications). When not in the audience, he loves to travel the world trying new gin. Follow him on all the socials @talldancraig

The Lehman Trilogy runs for three hours 30 minutes (with two 15 minutes interval) and plays at the Theatre Royal Sydney through 24 March 2024. Tickets are available through the Theatre Royal Sydney box office.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were guests of Good Humans PR

Image credit: Daniel Boud.