After making its premiere in at the National Theatre in London, the adaptation of the Oscar-winning film comes to Broadway, starring Tony and Emmy winner Bryan Cranston. More…
Howard Beale, news anchorman, isn’t pulling in the viewers. In his final broadcast he unravels live on screen. But when ratings soar, the network seizes on their newfound populist prophet, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on TV. "Network" depicts a media landscape where opinion trumps fact. Comic and hair-raising by turns, the iconic film by Paddy Chayefsky won four Academy Awards in 1976. Directed by Tony Award winner Ivo van Hove.
"Cranston’s Howard Beale is such a sustained wonder of a performance that he crowds out the rest of the cast. Director Ivo van Hove is fearless, rattling our cages with visual noise and a breakneck pace. Get a ticket...Still, no matter how intense the effects are — and in this production they are a startling commingling of then and now — it still comes down to the performance. Cranston remakes Beale from the inside out." Full Review
"Ivo van Hove's stage version of the Chayefsky cult film 'Network' gives Cranston the role of a lifetime as Howard Beale, the UBS news commentator who has a nervous breakdown on air and then becomes a media messiah. The high tech production designed by long-time van Hove associate Jan Versweyveld with video design by Tal Yarden is riveting throughout its two hour intermission-less running time by putting the audience in the news studio and making us complicit in the action." Full Review
"A freewheeling, fast and furious, absolutely mesmerizing stage adaptation...Whereas van Hove's tech-savvy, experimental approach often comes off as overblown, self-indulgent, pretentious and bewildering, it is perfectly suited to the media-overflow milieu of 'Network'...Cranston gives an all-out, remarkable performance — full of raw emotion, magnetic presence, superb comedic timing, and a genuine sense of struggle, unpredictability and urgency." Full Review
“Ivo van Hove brings his signature style to an intense and intelligent stage production of Paddy Chayefsky’s prophetic 1976 film ‘Network’. An easy highlight of the Broadway season, Bryan Cranston gives a Tony Award-worthy performance as news anchor Howard Beale’s descent into a rage-filled demagogue. The message is the medium, and vice versa, in this technically brilliant and thrilling new drama.” Full Review
“While the adaptation maintains the original period, the television equipment and the complex use of multimedia is very 2018...As expected, Bryan Cranston is phenomenal...Appropriately, the rest of the very good cast are overshadowed by Cranston’s persona...’Network' does not give us much guidance for getting out of our current situation, but it is an insightful (and entertaining) portrait of the problem.” Full Review
"It’s devilishly brilliant in construct and design, formulating the studio wind up energy with a blood pumping authenticity...The play falters a bit midway through, loosing some of its time clock countdown adrenaline...The out front dramatics beamed in from outside slice us a bit too far from the emotional core, distracting us from the true cause, but as a piece of modern theater, Ivo Van Hove, and the brilliant craftsmanship of video designer Tal Yarden rises magnificently center stage." Full Review
“Cranston's portrayal of Howard Beale is unconditionally the focus of a play that bludgeons the veracity of the news business and the malleability of TV viewers' judgment. The timeliness of the technology is striking while it focuses on now familiar manipulations of corruption, ratings, and financial manipulations...The play is most alive when Cranston is on stage...Cranston's dive into a man's soul is galvanizing...It is a thrilling performance as topical as this morning.” Full Review
"The brilliance of placing a stage adaptation of Chayefsky's story of television news as editorialized entertainment with content controlled by funding corporations is that what was taken as satire over forty years ago can be seen as social commentary in 2018...Cranston gives a nervy, fully textured performance...Van Hove's sharp, vigorous staging fully matches Hall's rapid-fire text...A contemporary lens with which to view Chayefsky's exceptional work, giving it greater impact for today." Full Review
"Chayefsky’s diatribe, which played as satire almost a half-century ago, takes on fresh fury in a sizzling stage production, directed by Ivo Van Hove, that feels less satiric but more urgent — and frightening — in today’s times...The depth of Chayefsky’s cynicism is so breathtaking, so full of existential despair that it makes today’s critical pundits look like weepy whiners. Although Cranston never pushes Beale over the edge into madness, he brilliantly nudges him to the outer limits of ang... Full Review
“The satire in Chayefsky’s iconic film transfers well to Hall’s adaptation...’Network’ addresses important themes and raises equally significant enduring questions...Van Hove’s innovative direction successfully places the outstanding cast as well as the audience in the ‘live set’ of a typical news broadcast. The ability to see Howard at the news desk as well as on screen and be able to hear all conversations is a magnificent feat.” Full Review
"Cranston has some truly stunning moments...The central directorial conceit is a measure, of course, of van Hove's genius...Not all of the personal scenes are as strong as Cranston's astonishing solo spots...But while you might wish for more depth in some scenes, that's just not the point of the production. This is one profoundly clever show, the rare conceptual masterwork that puts all the current railing against fake news and cheap network theatrics in a much broader temporal context." Full Review
"The cast is downright sensational!...Other than a script that might need some trimming to eliminate repetition on a theme, 'Network' will hold you in a vise of straight forward and blunt veracity, and a feeling of powerlessness...It’s always an enlightening time when something we’ve seen so many years ago on the big screen punches you square in the stomach as current, truthful and frightening." Full Review
"Bryan Cranston is absolutely brilliant...The adaptation seems to have the characters speaking a little less floridly than in the movie to make them more concrete, though the bite and intelligence remain...Cranston leaves virtually everyone else onstage in the dust with his textured, rousing, and heartbreaking performance, but Goldwyn manages to project a world-weary lapse into immorality, while Maslany—while not possessed enough—mounts in outrage for a climactic turn of events." Full Review
"Inventive and often enthralling...Van Hove serves up one knockout visual flourish after another...van Hove and Hall haven’t updated or reimagined the material in any significant way...Yet even if this 'Network' doesn’t entirely hang together, it’s still a fabulous piece of entertainment, directed and performed with verve and showmanship. Just about every directorial choice here manages to be audacious without feeling show-offy." Full Review
"There are two elements that strongly add to the proceedings: Ivo van Hove’s direction, which has the action constantly on the move as in a TV studio where everything is in flux; and the set by Jan Versweyveld, which shows all the fluctuations in such proceedings (from studios to multiple TV screens). As much as I loved Peter Finch in the movie, seeing Howard Beale portrayed live by Bryan Cranston giving one of the best performances of this decade is outstanding." Full Review
"The absolute genius of Ivo van Hove’s production is to give this a churning, gripping immediacy, as TV cameras swoop over the action and relay images to a giant screen centre stage and on smaller screens throughout the auditorium. And it is propelled by a searing, shatteringly committed performance from Bryan Cranston...That stage is slightly smaller than it was in London, but the impact is even more shattering." Full Review
"Cranston gives the performance of a lifetime as Beale...There is so much going on onstage that it can be dizzying. But Cranston, as Beale, who’s supposedly unwinding into madness, is the sane center...Everyone in the show is top notch. Maslany is earthier than Faye Dunaway....Goldwyn has the suave mien of William Holden from the movie. So kudos to 'Network.' If only Chayefsky had lived longer." Full Review
"And if you’re a glutton for great, high-risk acting, you owe Mr. Cranston the courtesy — and yourself the thrill — of watching his self-immolation...If the bravura dementia of his Howard makes much of the rest of the show seem as two-dimensional as a flat TV screen, it’s a trade-off I’m willing to accept, albeit with a sigh...As a portrait of a displaced man unraveling, Mr. Cranston’s wrenching performance stands on its own." Full Review
"Although set in the period of Chayefsky's original, it doesn't take much effort to view its themes as exponentially more pertinent now because of the Internet,…or to recognize its relation to the frustrations instigated by our media-obsessed president…Crowded with ideas (including a final diatribe about 'the destructive powers of absolute belief'), emotions, humor, and gimmickry…And, while Bryan Cranston's Beale may not blow his brains out, he's sure to blow your mind." Full Review
“van Hove’s direction...is spot-on and exciting. Making the most of the star performance by the terrific Cranston, The director has done a spectacular job of staging this National Theatre production...What van Hove has accomplished is creating a lively, busy and frequently hectic television studio atmosphere...It all has a dynamic effect...There is some extra baggage that should be eliminated...Rising above even the best of the staging is the mighty performance of Cranston.” Full Review
"The satirical sting may have been blunted by time, but the prescience is indisputable...What hurts the writing at 40-plus years' distance is that by remaining locked in the 1970s, it arguably doesn't go far enough...Still, as a real-world horror show about the profits to be reaped by accessing popular anger, 'Network' remains gripping, largely because Cranston makes his character's tragic trajectory a white-knuckle ride, and van Hove infuses the drama with dizzying kinetic energy." Full Review
"The exposition gets slightly muddled towards the end as Hall trims a pivotal sub-plot...But the real story here is the overwhelming sense of spectacle crafted by van Hove and Cranston’s barnstorming performance. Reality may have outstripped Lumet and Chayefsky’s most pessimistic prophecies. But this 'Network' is still a compulsively watchable freak show." Full Review
"Cranston is masterful in his raw depiction of a man coming apart before your eyes. With the always unpredictable director Ivo van Hove in charge, it's an electric staging, if tough to follow as the frenetic activity on Versweyveld's set jumps from center stage to the wings to the street in front of the theater (handheld cameras allow you to follow on the closest monitor). And it all gets too preachy at times, whenever Beale and corporate bigwigs get overly involved with their proselytizing." Full Review
“Cranston is mesmerizing...The ubiquity of the videos can at times feel like sensory overload. There were moments when it would have been fun to be given a breather...Goldwyn and Maslany are standouts. But their roles are far less compelling than Beale’s...The influence of television is the central theme but a montage of recent presidents not so subtly suggests – we are responsible for asking if what we see on screens can be believed.” Full Review
"van Hove’s hyperactive direction, with that giant screen drawing focus as it splinters into many smaller screens showing ’70s-era commercials, may be the ideal way of papering over the flaws in Chayefsky’s writing, namely his tendency to use his characters as megaphones to spout windy speeches...The adaptation by Lee Hall wisely discards some of the more absurdist feints of the movie...This drains some of the satirical edge from the material, but it’s probably a smart trade-off." Full Review
See it if brilliant staging of a play which is even more relevant now than when it premiered 40+ years ago. the use of video screens is brilliant!
Don't see it if it's disturbing, pessimistic and there's more than a little profanity and adult situations
See it if Great performances by all. Unbelievable staging. Relevant material still today Bryan Cranston was incredible. One of the best shows ever
Don't see it if I can’t imagine anyone not being amazed by this show
See it if If you want to see one of the best shows this season. Brian Cranston was outstanding. The supporting cast was perfect
Don't see it if There is no reason not to see it. Can’t say anything next about this show.
See it if you like memorable theatrical events,visceral and smart,great combination of form and content & tour-de-force performance by Bryan Cranston
Don't see it if you prefer plays that are less preachy, think that the gimmick of live video on stage has played itself out, or just want lighter fare
See it if Bran Cranston is there. Using madness to garner great ratings still resonates today along with his all too real mixture of fear and rage.
Don't see it if Bryan Cranston is missing or if you are bothered by the use of cameras, video or watching a nervous breakdown that seems all too real.
See it if you enjoy artisan, Bryan Cranston's work and the vision of Ivo Van Hove who take a familiar story and make it uniquely their own.
Don't see it if you are a purist fan of the movie or have seats on the extreme right of the theater (Orch. Right, High #) as you 'll miss a lot of live work
See it if you want to see great acting, great staging and a thought provoking play.
Don't see it if I can't think of one reason not to see it. Oh, don't see it if you only like musicals.
See it if You love relevant, timely, shows with fabulous acting and staging. The audience was involved with the staging. A must see event.
Don't see it if You’re looking for a fluffy musical
See it if U want to see an excellent play derived from Network the movie to the stage. Bryan Cranston is fabulous along with the staging and direction
Don't see it if U have no idea what Network is about!
See it if you enjoy great acting and wonderful staging. The twists and turns in the play provide an added bonus.
Don't see it if you do not enjoy remakes (tampering with an outstanding film).
See it if you're a fan of Bryan Cranston, a fan of innovative technology in theatre, and want something different
Don't see it if you're easily visually overwhelmed, or you'd be turned off by an entire cast of ethically dubious characters
See it if Bryan Cranston is at his BEST! The story line is weak but the staging is creative. Overall production leaves you with something to talk abou
Don't see it if Are not interested in seeing a super star actor. There is an opportunity to sit on stage and have dinner.. why Im not sure . Distracting .
See it if cutting edge staging, incredible acting and an amazingly relevant film adaptation would interest you.
Don't see it if you dislike intense tech-based productions, if themes of alienation and dystopia turn you off, if you think all is well in the USA as it is.
See it if You are a fan of Bryan Cranston.His performance is one of the top 5 performances I have seen in 50 years of attending theater. Perhaps #1!
Don't see it if You are a die hard Republican. If you hated the movie or don't like the idea of media controlling your life..
See it if you enjoy multimedia elements in an epic surreal story with an incredible cast. Not to be missed.
Don't see it if you dislike video screens at live theater and dystopian themes, or depictions of sex live onstage.
See it if You enjoy having your senses assaulted and utterly overwhelmed and desire a show with something worth chewing on
Don't see it if You dislike audience interaction, overtly aggressive staging, or bad Kate Hepburn impressions
See it if Bryan Cranston is one of the greatest actors in the planet.He is mesmerizing, funny, and captivating .The must see performance of the year!
Don't see it if I can't think of any reason not to see this show.It is powerful and profound...and very relevant.See it!
See it if You enjoyed the movie. You like Bryan Cranston. The use of actual video screens during the performance isn't something you're adverse to.
Don't see it if You don't like the movie. This is almost an exact replica of the screenplay save for a few differences.
See it if you want a Master Class in acting by Bryan Cranston...and you like immersive theatrical experiences. So absorbing!
Don't see it if you liked the William Holden/Faye Dunaway characters in the movie. This is Cranston's show, and the other characters seem to recede a bit.
See it if You liked the movie. You want to see a tour de force by Bryan Cranston. You are mad as hell and you are not gonna take it anymore
Don't see it if you have a world view. You mind the secondary characters really sucking.
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