Members say: Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining, Absorbing

About the show

Daniel Radcliffe stars in the Public Theater's high-tech London import about what our technological choices reveal about who we are and who's keeping track of it all.

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Inspired by the revelations of Edward Snowden (who appears via video!), and drawing on dozens of exclusive interviews with top journalists, politicians and academics, 'Privacy' explores our complicated relationship with technology and data through the travails of one lonely guy who's trying to figure out how to like, tag, and share his life without giving it all away. Written by Olivier-nominated playwright James Graham and directed by Josie Rourke. Be warned: The theater asks you to charge your phone and leave it ON for the show! 

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

“Viewed as a play, it is neither as profound as it aspires to be nor even entirely cohesive. But it ingeniously recreates that most venerable of entertainments, the magic show, in a form ideally suited to the second decade of the 21st century...I’m making ‘Privacy’ sound creepier and more compelling than it ultimately is...The parts of the show I can’t talk about—the many audience participation sequences—are both its giddiest and most sobering." Full Review


“Graham and Rourke's willingness to play with form to memorably convey content is enhanced by a cast that is more than game: Radcliffe embodies a character that is relatable and specific in his insecurities...Our desire for privacy has come in direct conflict with our narcissism. As Graham brutally shows, the latter seems to be winning at the moment.” Full Review


"A mind-bending theatrical experience...Daniel Radcliffe, who’s made auspicious Broadway appearances, is enormously appealing as The Writer in this confounding play...Dratch is especially persuasive as the M.I.T. professor Sherry Turkle...Over the course of this ever-surprising play, the Writer keeps learning how the Internet overrides what he thinks of as free will...But in the end, he can’t answer the big question: Who owns your life?” Full Review


"A cleverly done half-play, half-public service announcement…Daniel Radcliffe gives an extremely likable and empathetic performance as an introverted everyperson writer…The first half of the evening playfully demonstrates the multitude of ways our virtual identities are formed…But by the time Snowden appears describing a near future of lives being forcibly lived without secrets, we've been schooled in the multitude of ways our virtual identities can be used." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

“The play is ultimately more informational than successfully dramatic, often having the feel of an intricate, celebrity-studded TED Talk. But it nonetheless emerges as a dazzlingly inventive and entertaining theatrical exercise...Director Rourke keeps the production's complex technological balls up in the air with consummate skill, and the performers superbly rise to their many challenges. Radcliffe employs his natural charisma and likability to excellent effect.” Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

“So specifically and solely a discussion of privacy in the age of smart phones that it barely functions as anything else...The saving grace of this production (directed wittily by Rourke) is that it remains entertaining even when merely massaging information most of us absorbed years ago...Tech tricks lend it an atmosphere of surprise that its content sorely lacks, and also a sense of urgency that it cannot otherwise gin up...Like a lot of documentary theater, its point-of-view is too diffuse.” Full Review

Time Out New York

“A sardonic but disturbing survey of data mining and surveillance...The piece is a fresh and engaging mélange of verbatim interview text, geektastic research and romantic comedy...Radcliffe is more assured and funnier than ever, a bemused Everyman learning how to open up without losing his sense of identity. The supporting actors are marvelous.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Not so much a play as a documentary filtered through a series of comic sketches...The result is undeniably entertaining, often uproariously funny...Gifted with a sharp sense of humor, a gamely engaging star, a talented supporting cast, and light-fingered, fast-paced direction by Josie Rourke, 'Privacy' is undoubtedly going to entertain a great many people. Whether it will enlighten them is another matter...And, at two and a half hours, 'Privacy' makes its points exhaustively, and exhaustingly." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

“Really an excuse for a combination debate on issues of privacy and demonstration of tech wizardry...The proceedings are more fun than frightening, even when things turn somewhat sinister as the information gathered from the audience gets twisted into anti-government evidence...‘Privacy’ raises numerous important issues about our media-crazed, totally public world but addresses them with parlor tricks rather than serious thought.” Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

“If this sounds more like a TED talk than conventional theater, the impression is reinforced by there being little plot to speak of (or worth speaking of. There is a bullying director and a therapist and a long-lost love, all of it fairly perfunctory.) Still, the creative team works hard to keep us engaged, not just with the interactivity, but with Duncan McLean’s artful and useful projection design, and a kind of trickster theatricality.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"'Privacy' could easily have been a lecture on the fact that there is no such thing anymore. That, however, while interesting, would not have reached in and touched us between the ears. Graham and Rourke have created what we used to call 'A Happening'…The twists and turns of this production–and the cast is superb in every way–catch us off-guard and profoundly shift our perception of our relationships to all the electronics to which we are devoted." Full Review

The Huffington Post

“Starring Daniel Radcliffe, whose considerable talents are squandered in a production that’s long on information, but short on dramatic tension. Radcliffe plays a depressed writer searching for his authentic self. But in the digital world, does one actually exist?...Co-created by Josie Rourke and James Graham, the slick, fast-paced show is aided by Duncan McLean’s projection design and audience participation.” Full Review

AM New York

"A freewheeling, overstuffed adventure saga where the lone individual confronts the wonders and terrors of current phone and computer technology...Whereas Radcliffe has taken on some very challenging roles on Broadway in recent years, his function here is far more passive...but he does show off his considerable comic abilities...‘Privacy’ is all over the place, but it makes its points about the utter lack of personal privacy in today’s day and age with clarity as well as shock value." Full Review

New York Daily News

“Whether it’s cameras monitoring our every move, online gizmos constantly gathering data, everyone is always connected and sharing— whether they want to or not. That’s pretty much the point...Most telling is when the audience gets walked through the 'privacy' button on their phones, which actually double as tracking devices...Judging by 'oohs' from me and my fellow audience members - that’s when ‘Privacy’ gets eye-opening.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“This review of the brave and talented Daniel Radcliffe starring in James Graham’s new play will be about as vague as can be, while still telling you about this funny and deeply disturbing look at our world...Fantastically directed by Josie Rourke...The cast is smart, funny, and totally on-point as they each inhabit numerous real and imaginary characters...Every one of these actors are a joy to behold.” Full Review


“Radcliffe is the only cast member who plays just one role. He's a charmer, even though his character is an emotional basket case...Fast-paced, fun and provocative as all this is, the dating aspects of the production tend to come off as somewhat forced. Ultimately this is an overly ambitious attempt to tackle a big fat bundle of Internet-related problems. The jokey business used to tease the audience into more serious-minded reflection, somehow doesn't work as well as it should.” Full Review


“‘Privacy’ is entertaining, educational – and frightening. You probably were aware of the information gathering on the Internet and smart phones but you have never seen it demonstrated to this extent. The use of information gathered from the audience causes a great deal of laughter but by the end it is no laughing matter: identity theft and other criminal uses are fully explored. At the end of the evening, you may be inspired to never want to use your smart phone again.” Full Review

The Wrap

“Watching ‘Privacy’ is not unlike being on a cruise ship where the nightly entertainment alternates between mentalists and hypnotists…‘Privacy’ is a play that is conceived more than it is written. In the Playbill, Graham’s author credit is below the credit 'created by James Graham & Josie Rourke,' which is as it should be. Rourke also directs...In the excellent cast, Rachel Dratch and Reg Rogers are especially effective.” Full Review


“How fascinating you will find ‘Privacy’ - which I felt was sometimes engaging and largely tedious over its two-and-a-half hours - will depend on how little you knew before about how invasive technology can be, how dazzled you are by Rourke’s admittedly inventive staging, and how delighted you are just to be in the room with its star, Daniel Radcliffe...Graham’s germ of a story is, indeed, a good one, so it’s a shame he basically abandons any form of conventional dramatic storytelling.” Full Review


“The riveting unconventional comedy - part metadata high-tech primer, part futuristic horror show about the present, part audience participation event with the spirit of a hip magic show - made me more paranoid than I already am about the intimate reach of the digital revolution...Ultimately, the play’s end feels inconclusive. But given the seismic ongoing transformation of our idea of privacy, a tidy ending would have seemed false.” Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"The point is to illustrate Edward Snowden’s critique of government surveillance and the whistleblower himself duly pops up in a video recording…'Privacy’s' hypothetical denouement turns out to be so far-fetched that I felt less convinced by Snowden’s case at the end of the play than I had been beforehand…Documentary theatre works best when grounded in hard facts. By resorting to overheated speculation, Graham weakens the argument at the heart of his play." Full Review


"Although there’s a wisp of a plot...'Privacy' isn’t a play. It’s sort of a dramatized, semi-documentary, presentation/lecture, with audience participation and some laughs...Radcliffe reveals an appealingly quick wit in the ad-libbing that’s a substantial part of the evening. Aside from its helter-skelter progression, the biggest problem for 'Privacy' is that it urgently tells us something we already know, or suspect." Full Review


“A disquieting comic-thriller...Radcliffe offers another in a line of effacing and affecting performances…Agreeable supporting performances are turned in by a cast in multiple roles...I’m not sure any of the revelations come as a jarring surprise, though they raise substantive issues in myriad original ways.” Full Review

Broadway & Me

"Radcliffe is totally charming. Meanwhile, under Josie Rourke's inventive staging, old hands like Michael Countryman, Rachel Dratch and Reg Rogers deftly whirl though characters and accents faster than you can say WikiLeaks...Still, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was in a Media Studies class taught by a professor more eager to make his students like him than to teach them anything new...The show doesn't really have anything more to say than you've already known for a longtime." Full Review


“Radcliffe turns in a fine performance, but the contrived plot is peripheral to the message…Writer James Graham collaborated with Josie Rourke on the multi-media production which comes off as an interactive tutorial in which audience members are encouraged to use their phones and the versatile cast gets to flex their improvisational muscles. More than a play, ‘Privacy’ is a cautionary tale, a most entertaining one that is as disturbing as it is enlightening.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Clever, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want to learn how technology has influenced our privacy in the modern world.

Don't see it if you expect an elaborate storyline.

Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Romantic

See it if you want to see an immersive and masterful show with a great cast weave together contemporary society and politics with a great love story.

Don't see it if you don't own a smartphone?

Funny, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you want a hyper realist near future take on technological advances & its potential for isolationism. And/or if you heart Daniel Radcliffe.

Don't see it if you want a linear, non gimmicky play

Absorbing, Ambitious, Refreshing, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you like audience participation, you like contemplating modern technology and it's implications in our lives.

Don't see it if you want a strong plot, there wasn't really one.

Clever, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if Like me you are is not all that up on the repercussions of what the Internet has to offer. I found it fascinating.

Don't see it if Your friends, who have seen the show, are blabbermouths.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of Daniel Radcliffe on stage - Which I am! He makes the material seem relevant with a sense of urgency.

Don't see it if you are looking for a traditional book. This is more a docu-drama about a writer researching "Privacy" in today's world.

Original, Absorbing, Ambitious, Must see, Profound

See it if You want to see an intellectual discourse about privacy int he digital age, told creatively with humor and superb acting

Don't see it if You prefer to remain in the dark about privacy in the digital age

Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you're up for sharp, fast paced dialogue

Don't see it if slick talking money makers has no appeal

Original, Clever, Masterful, Quirky, Great staging

See it if You enjoy a touch of paranoia with your theater. Awesome cast playing multiple roles, that don't take themselves to seriously. Serious fun.

Don't see it if You don't like interactive pieces where the actors break the fourth wall regularly. You don't enjoy a touch of paranoia with your theater.

Original, Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you are concerned about the role social media plays in our lives and want a clever non-threatening but all-involving way of focusing on it.

Don't see it if you are not open the the frightening and challenging realities and implications as well as threats to our privacy.

Funny, Clever, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy educational theatre with a humorous twist, are interested in exploring life in the digital age and surveillance culture

Don't see it if you don't use a smartphone or social media, don't like audience participation, only like traditional theatre

Original, Absorbing, Clever, Intense, Profound

See it if You enjoy good acting and a well written piece on privacy and technology. Can be scary.

Don't see it if You are a technophobe or you don't care about the future and how our privacy is fleeting

Original, Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you want the truth about privacy -- or lack thereof -- in the 21st century, enjoy Daniel Radcliffe (excellent here), and have a smartphone

Don't see it if you don't like breaking the fourth wall, audience interaction, or plays that are more commentary than story

Scary, Intelligent, Must see

See it if want to be enlightened about our use of cellphones and the internet.

Don't see it if you prefer to stay in the dark about our lose of privacy.

Original, Clever, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Relevant

See it if You want to see Daniel Radcliffe and hear about the digital age and privacy concerns

Don't see it if You don't like being lectured about privacy concerns.

Clever, Delightful, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want to learn about our willingness to give up our privacy for the convenience of our gadgets.

Don't see it if you are looking for much of an underlying story. You really don't need it, but it would be nice to have more emotional meat in the show.

Clever, Interesting, Entertaining, Fun, Engaging

See it if You want a fun night out. It's super interesting and informative. Plays out more like a documentary with fun audience participation.

Don't see it if You dislike audience participation. The story isn't very strong but it's a fun and interesting show.

Original, Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Fresh

See it if You want something completely different. SO IMPRESSED! It's funny and entertaining, while you cleverly learn about the power of technology.

Don't see it if You're looking for music or something light. There is audience participation, which makes every night slightly different. Cast was great!

Original, Creative, Thought-provoking, Interactive, Fun

See it if Very creative/well acted/well staged. Refreshing & fun. You like breaking of 4th wall. Very informative & thought-provoking.

Don't see it if It's more fun documentary than real theatrical story. Still very enjoyable. Act 2 could be shorter.Needs counterpoints to its ideas–preachy?

Relevant, Resonant, Disappointing, Presentational, Distracted

See it if you're fascinated with the concept of privacy and identity in the age of technology and social media, and where YOU fit in to that question.

Don't see it if you don't like shows where the narrative thrust takes a backseat to gimmicky conventions.

Funny, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Innovative

See it if It's weird. A decent play (as script), but a fantastic evening of the theatre. The use of technology to engage w/ audience was exceptional.

Don't see it if I generally enjoy Radcliffe on stage (except Equus). He was a warm presence inhabiting not much of role.

Original, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to be a nervous case after the information that you get. Overall good play and entertainment ingredients though a bit too long.

Don't see it if Don't enjoy your theatre to be interactive.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You own a cellphone or tablet, live on the Internet and have no idea who's sharing your space in the cyberworld + you love Daniel Radcliffe.

Don't see it if The rest of the run is sold out and it closes on Sunday - unless you have a lot of time to sit in a rush line. If so - GO!!!

Original, Clever, Relevant, Hilarious, Basic

See it if you want a really fun night at the theater that keeps you on your toes and has a lot of laughs

Don't see it if You are expecting your views on modern privacy to be profoundly changed

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Relevant

See it if You want to experience theatre through a new lens. Be prepared to keep your phone on and refer to it as directed!

Don't see it if You object to recurring audience engagement/participation, or if you would rather ignore the roles of technology/privacy in modern society.

Cast & Creatives (15)