The Lifespan of a Fact (NYC)
Closed 1h 35m
The Lifespan of a Fact (NYC)
84

The Lifespan of a Fact (NYC) NYC Reviews and Tickets

84%
(514 Reviews)
Positive
94%
Mixed
5%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Funny, Clever, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Based on the true story of the conflict between a famous essayist and his fact checker, this world premiere drama comes to Broadway in a production starring Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale.

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Member Reviews (514)

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965 Reviews | 339 Followers
75
Based on a true story, Well acted, Intelligent, Plotless, Talky

See it if you want a straightforward, amusing play re:standards of nonfiction. All 3 actors are adept. Some laughs; some insights. Needs smaller venue

Don't see it if you want an impt discussion (nonfiction SHOULD be factual) or a satisfying ending. Why all-white cast? Drags occasionally.Mostly enjoyable

946 Reviews | 387 Followers
94
Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You want to see 3 top notch actors give great performances in a funny entertaining show that is also timely and topical and super relevant.

Don't see it if You’re not a fan of topical plays that make you work a little for your satisfaction. Like most things in life, there’s no clear cut ending.

539 Reviews | 1875 Followers
94
Great writing, Profound, Resonant, Must see, Absorbing

See it if Smartly penned script that is terrically acted but some of the best. Completely absorbed throughout. Intriguing but the funny landed too.

Don't see it if You don’t like plays with deep themes or plots focused on journalism.

706 Reviews | 214 Followers
80
Clever, Funny, Intelligent, Relevant, Refreshing

See it if How important are exact facts when trying to convey emotional truths? Humorous, well-acted, light entertainment. Some clever twists.

Don't see it if You are looking for more depth to the theme and characters. The ideological debate got a little repetitive.

741 Reviews | 123 Followers
87
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if the embodiment of philosophical ideas attracts you. The characters are recognizable as people as well as concepts.

Don't see it if you are not attentive to detail. Information is given but not hammered.

MJK
677 Reviews | 188 Followers
81
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Relevant, Funny

See it if u want to see 3 first-rate actors turn a modest comedy into a riveting debate, full of potent ideas, relatable characters & plenty of laughs

Don't see it if u expect much heft from this superficial take on the weighty subject of the sad state of journalism; u feel cheated by ambiguous endings.

687 Reviews | 114 Followers
82
Thought-provoking, Great staging, Great acting, Disappointing, Relevant

See it if Powerhouse cast (Jones edges lead) & Silverman's sleek direction propels glib but important look at current journalism Clever but handcuffed

Don't see it if Drama often feels guilty of the very idea that's on trial - jouralistic purity While very funny lacks dramatic heft; has quality of a thesis

602 Reviews | 225 Followers
86
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You’d be intrigued by a topical play about the relevant issue of what constitutes a fact/truth, performed by three terrific actors.

Don't see it if You find stories about journalistic integrity boring, talky, and/or very similar, and don’t really care for these particular actors.

Critic Reviews (48)

The New York Times
October 18th, 2018

“There used to be a genre of Broadway comedy meant to be topical but not emotional...But ‘The Lifespan of a Fact’ clearly wants to be more than that, even if its raw material isn’t strong enough for drama...'Terrifically engaging but not as smart as it thinks.' That this doesn’t much matter as the play pingpongs along is the result of a terrific comic staging by Leigh Silverman. With its cast, its dead-on timing...it would probably nail its laughs even without the dialogue."
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Time Out New York
October 18th, 2018

“A quick and entertaining play that makes a good case for the value of truth...If Fingal gets the upper hand...it’s partly thanks to Radcliffe’s appeal as an actor. His Fingal may be a persnickity fussbudget with a dubious sense of which battles to pick, but his bite is the bite of an underdog...Cannavale’s D’Agata, by contrast, is arrogant and dismissive, and his resistance to Fingal’s critiques has an undercurrent of vanity...Like most issue plays, this one ends on a note of ambiguity.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
October 18th, 2018

"Directed with a light touch and a sense for gradual crescendo...and constructed with elegance and precision on all fronts...’The Lifespan of a Fact’ gives you the satisfying rush of a good mystery or a crossword puzzle. Your brain gets to go the gym for 90 minutes. But it doesn’t get to go home feeling pumped and complacent. Instead, in a way that’s both invigorating and unsettling, the show leaves you hanging. It suspends you...and challenges you to find your own way out.”
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New Yorker
October 22nd, 2018

"Thus are the battle lines drawn: soulful artist vs. nitpicking pedant, in John’s view; amoral fabricator vs. ethical realist, in Jim’s...For such a conceit to work, we have to believe in the merit of the thing that is in dispute. Is one essay really worth all this fuss?...As the play goes on, and its initially sharp comedy dulls into a repetitive deadlock, it becomes clear that John is a martyr not to his notion of poetic truth but to the demands of his paper-thin writerly pride."
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The Hollywood Reporter
October 18th, 2018

“The exchanges have the vigorous back-and-forth zing of a sweaty squash match, not to mention a stinging relevance to so much of what's been happening for years now in American social, cultural and political discourse. It's hard to imagine this pithy play ever being more timely or more ideally cast, and the dynamic of the three actors is thrilling to watch...As riveting as Jones and Cannavale are, however, the real revelation here is Radcliffe...You can’t take your eyes off him.”
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Entertainment Weekly
October 18th, 2018

“An intriguing story, and three fine, famous actors to play it. But the outcome never feels quite as consequential as it should, possibly because it isn’t actually that ambiguous...The ending comes on with surprising emotional resonance, though the impact of its final moments mostly serves to remind theatergoers that the rest of ‘Lifespan’ could have used another, altruistic kind of fiction: more plot — and true emotional detail — than its bare facts can provide. "
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Variety
October 18th, 2018

“Radcliffe proves to be a master of comedy in ‘The Lifespan of a Fact’... If we were living through a different moment in time, the writer’s fabricated but emotionally wrenching 'truth' would easily outweigh the fact-checker’s chilly reality of events. But with the leader of our nation stomping on truth as we know it, and the very essence of reality imperiled by political fact-stretchers, the debate at the heart of this play transcends comedy and demands serious attention."
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The Wall Street Journal
October 18th, 2018

“For most of its length, this admirably compact play is a rib-bustingly funny farce in which things go from very bad to far worse in nothing flat. Toward the end, though, Messrs. Kareken, Murrell and Farrell skillfully modulate into a darker key...While you may not buy the surprise ending...you’ll like everything else about ‘The Lifespan of a Fact’, including the letter-perfect acting, Silverman’s snappy direction and Mimi Lien’s quick-change set.”
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