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. More…
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!
“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
“‘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
“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
“Since it premiered in 2014, the issues raised by 'Privacy' have only increased in urgency and traction...Josie Rourke’s production has been comprehensively overhauled since its debut, with the narrative around the author's own journey through this data minefield more hauntingly personalised...Radcliffe acquits himself well...He emerges more fully formed than the rest of the versatile company, combining amiability, vulnerability and curiosity.” Full Review
"'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 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
“A piece of docu-theatre that combines actual interviews with straightforward drama and a hugely innovative set of interactions with the audience...'Privacy' debuted at the Donmar two years ago and despite some fresh gags about Brexit, it also occasionally looks its age...At its worst, the play can feel like a primer for an 80-year-old...In what is, for the most part, a funny, smart, analytical play, the end is profoundly moving and even shocking.” 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
“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
"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
"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
“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
“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
“The difference between privacy and secrecy is one of many topical questions raised in this imaginative and absorbing work of documentary theater...As for Radcliffe, his role here may not seem as flagrantly challenging as past Broadway ventures into musical theater, psychodrama and pitch-black comedy. But it reaffirms his great gift for ensemble acting. This star, for one, clearly thrives on working as part of a community - in the old-fashioned sense of the word.” Full Review
“The originality of this show is in its engagement with the audience. It's very much an audience participation show...Daniel Radcliffe is his usual charming self onstage and he is surrounded by an excellent ensemble including Rachel Dratch of 'Saturday Night Live' fame. The show is fun, challenging, frightening at times. It does overstay its welcome a bit. An intermission-less 90 minutes would have been enough.” Full Review
"Short of recruiting Julian Assange to tap-dance in a negligée, Josie Rourke could hardly have applied more headline-grabbing, head-turning panache to this new, souped-up, New York-friendly version of her and James Graham’s techno-savvy play…The evening remains a mass of fascinating material and ideas, with insufficient debate about the security value of governmental snooping. Yet it’s inventive, funny and abounds with memorable images." Full Review
"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
"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
"The fun and games with audience participation are very well done, but a little less might be a little more. Radcliffe easily carries the show. He’s casually likable, which can also be said of the play itself. The cast is of a piece; everyone is in sync with Radcliffe and each other....If parts of 'Privacy' state the obvious, so what? It’s also an eye opener. And the obvious bears repeating anyway." Full Review
"'Privacy' manages to be both hugely entertaining and somewhat glib. It's impossible to tune out from the event Graham and Rourke have orchestrated: Each fresh revelation of our private data works like a magic trick, eliciting shocked laughter and delighted gasps. But these digital sleights of hand can also obscure deeper discussion. The dichotomy suggested by The Writer's tale, which pits live intimacy against digital exposure, feels oversimplified." 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
“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
“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
"Believability, or plot for that matter, is not Graham’s primary concern...For a play about connectivity, 'Privacy' feels weirdly disjointed. The facts, figures, and revelations behind 'Privacy' are rather riveting — in a lecture-y/symposium kind of way. It feels tailor-made for an audience at South by Southwest…But as a play? You could probably remove Radcliffe’s character and get the same effect. Without the bang-up ticket sales, of course." Full Review
“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
See it if you like original and innovative storytelling! Having audience participation is ingenious!
Don't see it if you don't want to be thoroughly entertained yet educated on how the government has the power to invade on people's privacy.
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!
See it if While it is no longer playing, if you ever have a chance to see this show - GO. It will make you think about the privacy issues we all face
Don't see it if You have no interest in the topic and have already read enough about it
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.
See it if you want relevant shocking documentary of how much privacy we have or not have by sharing on social media. Daniel Radcliffe is effective.
Don't see it if You don't enjoy conceptual plays.
See it if You enjoy thought provoking theater and want to understand the deal we make as a society to utilize technology while giving up privacy.
Don't see it if You don't have or want a smartphone, don't care about technology.
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?
See it if You are ready to join the 21st century and realize how communication has changed since electricity was discovered. Daniel Radcliffe
Don't see it if You are a Luddite; Still use a pager; Have a clam cell phone; Expect Harry Potter and his magic wand to appear; Absolutely feel secure
See it if You embrace truly creative, groundbreaking, challenging work. I was thoroughly against the idea of using phones in the audience but it works
Don't see it if You have anything to hide. Or if you are so self absorbed you don't think you do ;-)
See it if You are really intrigued by Edward Snowden and the access the government has to everything that you do. Great acting and extremely relevant
Don't see it if You are frightened by the government tracking you or you don't like extremely interactive shows that involve cell phone use.
See it if you ever use a smart phone, google, social media. IF YOU CAN SEE THIS SITE SEE IT!!
Don't see it if you cannot win the today tix lotto. it is sold out so that is the only excuse
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!!!
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.
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
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.
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