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 Beale is mesmerizing...While Cranston and not Van Hove are the main reason to buy a ticket, Van Hove and Versweyveld's production certainly makes for an interesting and in many ways exciting and effective experience...There's no denying that Van Hove does have a way of adding sizzle and now-ness to everything he does. But he has gone way overboard with this insistently immersive presentation.” Full Review
"What’s different about 'Network' on stage, in addition to Cranston’s awesome portrayal, is Ivo van Hove’s very kinetic and immersive direction...The first hour of 'Network' is absolutely mesmerizing...But as with the movie, 'Network' on stage becomes overwhelmed by Chayefsky’s pontificating about the evils of modern society — and Hall isn’t a very judicious editor." Full Review
"Acclaimed stage director Ivo Van Hove’s exhilarating production is a laudable effort to revisit Chayevsky’s chilling prophecy, but in this version, the towering presence of Bryan Cranston delivering a monumental performance upstages the medium and the message...Cranston’s performance ranks among the best I’ve ever seen on a live stage. It will go down as legendary. But through a combination of miscasting and lopsided writing, the other performances pale by comparison." Full Review
"van Hove’s overly busy production can’t match the bareknuckle force of his leading man’s performance. Whenever Cranston isn’t on stage, the show tends to feel a bit didactic. And some of van Hove’s flashy, fourth-wall-breaking technical daredevilry feels distracting and oddly pointless...There’s no question that 'Network' is a sickeningly timely evening of theater. But whenever Cranston wasn’t on stage, I had to keep reminding myself why I loved the movie so much." Full Review
"Seeing Cranston perform is the only thing that made the evening at all worthwhile for me. Everything else about the production is so overblown, so frenetic, so gimmicky and so disjointed that it wore me down long before it ended...Somewhere midst all the cacophony there’s a cautionary tale about the media that still resonates even though the media themselves may have changed...Go to see Cranston if you are a fan. Otherwise, just rent the movie." Full Review
“This new ‘Network’ wants very much to make Beale’s ’70s-style rage about the rage of its audience members as well...This creative staging is dizzyingly effective...But there is something off about this leap of the 1976 script into 2018...In 2018, it’s hard to escape the fact that personal experience, collectively voiced, is one of the largest drivers of anger. ‘Network’ gets the power of the collective voice, but there’s something antiquated about its central mouthpiece.” Full Review
"It all comes together beautifully. Until, puzzlingly, the production falls apart, loses its focus, and turns into another show altogether, a mildly '1984'-ish wannabe satire coupled with a soap opera detour that drags things down pretty much until the end...Cranston is, in a word, magnificent...Goldwyn, Maslany, and the rest of the cast do fine work, but their efforts generally are lost against the technical elements. Only Cranston's remarkably etched portrayal of Howard Beale rises to the t... Full Review
"His big breakdown scene is a master class of acting, saying more with facial expression than words, and his transformation into an overconfident eminence is equally remarkable. Standing center stage (as he often does), delivering one meaty monologue after another, Cranston is consistently mesmerizing." Full Review
"When do you really feel you are feasting on the meat and bones of the play?...Mostly when Bryan Cranston’s beautifully, near-perfectly-performed newscaster-turned-furious-prophet Howard Beale is speaking...Cranston’s performance is a wonder...There is one final glorious visual trick that confirms van Hove and Versweyveld as superior stage magicians—even if, with 'Network,' their box of tricks feels a little overstuffed. Bryan Cranston provides all the magic this production needs." Full Review
"Chayefsky’s grey-toned universe is one we live in, 40-plus years later. And van Hove doesn’t trust us to see that on our own...Expecting an audience to rely on their familiarity with source material is as slick as milking a madman’s ranting for rating...Yarden’s video design almost dances, but van Hove doesn’t trust that; he has it constantly echoing and competing with the action onstage...Perhaps the director’s idea is never to let the audience feel too comfortable in any medium." Full Review
"My late-arriving discussion of the production seems justified for a play so completely dominated by a single performance. In most other respects, 'Network' is something of a let-down, and certainly no improvement over the film...The adaptation by Lee Hall sticks close to Chayefsky’s original script, with mixed results...Cranston comes damn close to matching the power of Finch’s Beale, focusing more than he predecessor on the character’s desperate sadness." Full Review
“This production has so many flawed elements the result is a disastrous debacle...Cranston was not able to save this hodgepodge of a mess...I’ll place the blame on the indiscernible adaption by Hall...And his co-conspirator guilty of poor choices director Ivo Van Hove...The stage is overburdened with too many fractious moving parts...The relevance of social media...is all but distilled to a disjointed melodrama and sophomoric philosophizing...The play is in shambles." Full Review
"Bryan Cranston has a hell of a mad scene in the middle of 'Network'...It’s riveting stuff, because Cranston is an extraordinary actor, and also because, for an extended moment in this tech blitz of a show, there appears to be a human being onstage. Paddy Chayefsky’s Oscar-winning screenplay was a satire of the values of the television age, but humor has never been Van Hove’s strength, and this 'Network' has virtually none of it...'Network' isn’t galvanizing, it’s numbing." Full Review
"Cranston does the impossible...he makes Peter Finch’s Oscar-winning turn feel like yesterday’s news...If only the rest of the show was even half as good...Hall, hewing closely and at times verbatim to Chayefsky’s screenplay, fails to rustle up any resonance or fresh insights for today’s era of fake news...When the focus veers from Howard to corporate doublespeak and a cliched melodrama — at least as it’s played here — about an extramarital affair, it’s time to switch channels." Full Review
"The result is sensory overload. That, of course, may be (must be?) van Hove’s intent...van Hove’s allowing myriad distractions only obscures the ideas Chayevsky got across on screen...There’s another significant drawback: While creating his mirror-held-up-to-nature world, van Hove doesn’t appear to be paying any more than cursory attention to the actors and the acting. To his credit, Cranston runs quite an emotional gamut." Full Review
"A strangely wan and out-of-step stage adaptation of the 1976 film. What was frighteningly prescient right before the Carter Administration now seems quaintly admonitory amid the manic, performative idiocy of the Trump era...As pure multimedia spectacle, it’s impressive. As drama, it works fitfully. There’s no denying the vigorous acting by Bryan Cranston and Maslany, who enliven every scene they’re in, and often rise above the digital noise of van Hove’s busy staging." Full Review
"There’s something flat about van Hove’s production. It’s got all the requisite external flash, and Lee Hall’s adapted script is clear enough in its outlining of the story’s heightening stakes — the problem is, we recognize those stakes intellectually, but we don’t really feel them...van Hove has only one actor who’s truly on fire. Bryan Cranston’s Beale is a ferocious performance...Other than Cranston, the people feel stuck, sometimes overwrought and often stiff." Full Review
"We already know that Beale’s populist anxieties have become our living nightmare. What director Ivo van Hove’s slick but mostly soulless production fails to do is couch much of this in heart-pounding human drama, despite a deeply felt and characteristically robust turn from Bryan Cranston...Aside from the 'Breaking Bad' star’s visceral performance, most everything else about Van Hove’s production feels rather more hospitable to androids than human players." Full Review
"Chayefsky’s celebrated screenplay is...dolled up with all sorts of distracting gadgetry by that maestro of fancy doodads, Ivo van Hove...One of the play’s multiple themes is how we’re controlled by TV and the other gizmos we’ve created. The fact that, at times, van Hove forces our eye toward the screens, even when humans are standing front and center before us, is one of the production’s better jokes. But Cranston is the only human in a cast 23 strong with any power to move us." Full Review
“Despite an overwhelming star performance by Cranston...And a technology-crammed set so full of distractions that you are too busy watching all the visuals to remember what the play is about in the first place...’Network’ is as dated and irrelevant as a nickel phone call...Both the script and direction careen recklessly between a swerving clash of styles that lurch from mood to mood in scenes of farce, high drama, naturalism and comic fantasy...A combination of ambrosia and apocalypse.” Full Review
“’Network’ generates a video-and-sound show that obscures the people onstage, never mind the ideas of the script; as a result...with one exception, the production is neither well-cast nor particularly well-directed...The play's real drawing card is Cranston...’Network’ offers the pleasure of a star at the top of his powers...But stripped of its sound and fury and seen from the distance of four decades, much of 'Network''s satire seems pretty elementary." Full Review
"'Network' is a story for our time, which is why it is disappointing that Hall and director Ivo van Hove only make the half-choice to set it here and now...Preserving much of what didn't work in Chayefsky's screenplay...'Network' relies on such operatic rants, not all of which are created equal. Also unequal is the skill with which this cast delivers them...Our eyes are involuntarily drawn to the action on the huge screen upstage. How can real humans possibly compete." Full Review
"A largely humorless, tech-heavy adaptation...Cranston is the reason to see 'Network'...There aren’t that many other reasons...Broadway’s 'Network' is no longer satire. That is in large measure because Chayefksy...turned out to be prophetic...Video-intense production...Whatever point is being made about the loss of humanity is accompanied by an apparent loss of interest in the humans...only Cranston is allowed a three-dimensional performance." Full Review
"Chayefsky’s predictions having long since come to pass, 'Network' is thus a musty period piece...Cranston overcomes that obstacle by putting a personal spin on the part...Not so his colleagues...which has the unintended effect of turning 'Network' into a one-man show...If you’re willing to pay Broadway prices to see Cranston give a tremendous performance, there’s a chance you’ll go home happy. Otherwise, you might as well rent the movie." Full Review
"Ivo van Hove's production doesn't have much to say, though it's exciting to look at...Cranston, as Beale, is the ideal actor for this dual role, simultaneously playing to the live audience and to the camera. His descent is rapid, explosive, and transfixing — it's tough to look away...But his Howard Beale is still a cipher...Beale isn't someone we ever come to care about, and, unfortunately, that extends to all of the characters in the play." Full Review
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 you want to see brilliant! Bryan Cranston a must see, and the show has great writing and staging. Creative and innovative.
Don't see it if you are a curmudgeon! this is a great show and a treat to see Bryan Cranston perform.
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 have or have not seen the original movie and are ready to realize that not much has changed since the 70's. Brilliant production.
Don't see it if you are looking for light escapist entertainment.
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 you want to see amazing piece of theatre. It was dramatic, acting superb and the technology was something I have never seen in theatre. T
Don't see it if you find innovative theatre not worth your time.
See it if You want to see a uniquely staged production with fine acting. Bryan Cranston is amazing.
Don't see it if You don’t like non traditionally staged plays. You’d rather see a musical.
See it if like Bryan Cranston who is at his best in this play; of if you liked the theme behind the movie
Don't see it if if you did not like the movie; or don't like audience participation of any sort (although there is very little)
See it if You want to see a very unique and thought provoking play with incredible acting & staging. Also if you’re a huge Bryan Cranston fan!
Don't see it if If you cannot sit through a show at 2 hours with no intermission. There is a lot of dialogue and a lot that you have to pay attention to.
See it if You love acting at its finest. Cranston is riveting. Seeing his facial expressions on the big screen is a gift to the audience.
Don't see it if You expect the other actors/ characters to deliver the same level of intensity
See it if You remember the movie, Brian Cranston or just amazing staging. Really, the staging is almost a secondary character in this fascinating show
Don't see it if You don’t like to watch your theater on TV. If you don’t like the actors. You didn’t like the movie.
See it if You want to see great drama, performed magnificently, by a great ensemble. Bryan Cranston is fantastic. He gives the show 110% of his engery
Don't see it if you only like silly broadway musicals or don't want to see two people briefly reenacting sex on stage
See it if You appreciate great acting and over-the-top staging. The camera work is dizzying and captures the rapid-fire pace of the show.
Don't see it if You want an easy comedy or dancing girls. This play is real drama--some funny stuff but mostly in-your-face theater.
See it if If ypu want to see a show that expresses the feelings of many ameticans today dont miss this .
Don't see it if If you ate tired of fake news and the wprld we live in today
See it if It's Bryan Cranstons performance that makes this, go to see him. The set is overly ambitious and not all the actors were in the same show
Don't see it if You want something true to the time period, you find people eating on stage for no reason distracting
See it if You are mesmerized by Ivo von Hove and Jan Versweyveld’s riveting productions and entranced by Bryan Cranston’s acting.
Don't see it if You are not ready for an assault of sound, light, visuals, non-stop action, in-your-face acting, and disturbing, provocative ideas.
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!
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