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Public Enemy

From 69 member  reviews
Members say: Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent

About the show

The Pearl Theatre Co. presents a punchy and raw adaptation of Ibsen’s 'An Enemy of the People' from the playwright behind Broadway’s 'Blackbird,' David Harrower.  More…

When Dr. Stockmann finds that the town’s tourist-friendly baths contain lethal levels of toxins, he sets out to clear the air and quickly finds his friends and neighbors poisoned against him. Ibsen's iconic parable tackles the collision of truth and politics in the public sphere.

Member Reviews (69)


Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent
Avg Score

Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if exceptional adaptation/writing! Completely accessible and relatable. Passionately though-provoking. Great actors.

Don't see it if intense, passionate discussion breaking the 4th wall make you uncomfortable. Also common place human moral frailty & greed.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Engaging

See it if You enjoy shows that make you think and wonder "What would I do?" Sparked some great after theater conversation w/ friend

Don't see it if You want to see something light or mindless that doesn't make you think.

Ambitious, Laborious, Intellectual, Good staging, Grim

See it if You would like to experience how the Greek public felt when they voted to put Socrates to death. You enjoy long philosophical arguments.

Don't see it if You want more developed characters, more humor, and more nuance and depth rather than having the same point repeated many times.

Uneven acting, Relevant, Resonant, Simplistic, Preachy

See it if you want a primer for Ibsen's deeper, smarter, more even-handed polemic, An Enemy of the People, upon which this was based.

Don't see it if in this hot political campaign season you want to escape more agitprop & unsubtle messages about the corruption of the press & politicians.

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Intense, Intelligent

See it if Harrower's blistering adaptation of Ibsen's play on small town corruption leaves subtlety at the door but still effective; very well staged

Don't see it if Tired of histrionic politics (real & dramatic); acting is a tad stilted esp Dr.Stockmann who becomes a belligerent mouthpiece for the author

Ambitious, Dizzying, Intense, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if you'd like a modern adaptation that condenses the action without sacrificing the spirit with a great performance from the lead actor.

Don't see it if you like your Ibsen traditional, are not a fan of speed plotting that combines actions in a whirlwind, don't like its modern resonances

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You Are an Ibsen fan and like plays with only dialogue and little action. How much will you give up to defend your beliefs of what is right?

Don't see it if You like action. You fall asleep during long monologues. Your mind is made up and cannot be changed.

Also This has been adapted from an Ibsen play into a 90 minute version.... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Disappointing, Great writing

See it if you are a political junkie & love seeing how some things never change. Parts of this new translation, set in modern times, were fascinatin

Don't see it if you want a well directed, coherent, believable production of this marvelous play.

Also They did a great job of making this relevant for today, and the main c... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Relevant, Slow, Disappointing, Thought-provoking

See it if you want your drama pristine and unemotional. Spoken beautifully, but a bit too polarized. Deliberately aseptic stage, costumes.

Don't see it if You want some meat in there. You want color in your set, information in costumes or emotional shading in cast.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Engaging

See it if you are interested in politics and goverment, and enjoy different and revolutionary points of view on the matter.

Don't see it if critical views of democracy offend you or you would not enjoy emotional political speeches which break the fourth wall.

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining

See it if Excellent translation and brilliantly acted . absorbing drama relating to today's political climate. A must see.

Don't see it if If you only enjoy light musicals.

Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy a classic play that has been updated for our time.

Don't see it if You are an Ibsen purist and find tampering with his genius upsetting.

Also Ibsen would probably be distraught if he saw this play, which deviates... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You want to hear about an issue that is relevant. You want to see powerful acting. You want to see someone who is passionate about a cause

Don't see it if You want light and fluffy. You don't want to hear about people in office hiding the truth about contaminants in the water.

Entertaining, Disappointing, Dated

See it if you enjoy good acting and good directing

Don't see it if you dislike dated plays whose theme has been over-sone.

Disappointing, Intense

See it if you're a big Ibsen fan and even like adaptations.

Don't see it if you object to sitting in the audience and being lectured.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if serious, thought-provoking dramas float your boat. Never really fades, so you're good to go on the steady, flowing dialogue. So-so acting.

Don't see it if you need a lot to keep you interested & awake. This is NOT a show to see alone. Must have conversation, dissection & digestion afterwards.

Intense, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Shrill, Intelligent

See it if You want politically-charged theater that hammers home its point about integrity, politics, and transparency.

Don't see it if You want light comedy.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Relevant, Flat, Strangely unsatisfying

See it if An attractive, sleek and contemporary Ibsen update is of interest, its progressive casting and political immediacy ironically almost too PC

Don't see it if You prefer your Ibsen straight, with more traditional casting, making less sporadic philosophical points.

Also A capable cast, a clean if clumsy Scandinavian-styled set and a quickl... Read more Read less

Excruciating, Indulgent, Insipid, Disappointing, Banal

See it if You have the patience to watch a guy rant and rave about the stupidity of the majority and the cowardice of politicians.

Don't see it if You want to see Ibsen done well. This is essentially an Internet comment thread presented on stage.

Relevant, Ambitious, Slow

See it if you want to see the basic premise of the original play acted out with connections drawn to our current culture and politics.

Don't see it if you have high expectations about seeing an Ibsen play based on the original theme

Also I applaud the efforts to bring attention to the issues associated with... Read more Read less

Cliched, Disappointing, Indulgent, Ambitious, Intense

See it if you like being hit over the head with a sledge hammer! No subtlety here. No nuance of character. Everyone is a "symbol"

Don't see it if you want to do your own thinking and responding to ideas and characterizations. Sophomoric and obvious, important ideas are lost in tirade

Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You like venerable classic plays truncated and butchered. Though relevant to our current times it would resonate if it were less simplistic

Don't see it if You think the woes of the 19th century are irrelevant to current times. Ibsen's play, although polemical, deserves to be seen as written.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you like Ibsen, An Enemy of the People, political plays, thoughtful and timely material that feels very relevant.

Don't see it if You're in the mood for something light and fluffy, or a musical. This is a play with some humor, but it's mostly serious.

Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if a story about political cover ups on environmental issues.

Don't see it if you believe there is no corruption in politics.

Absorbing, Clever, Great writing, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if you think the original is talky and undramatic, this witty update is vivid and stimulating. A revelatory central performance.

Don't see it if You want mindless entertainment. Otherwise, any serious theatergoer shouldn't miss it.

October 25th, 2016
"Harrower retitled it 'Public Enemy,' spruced up the translation and shaved the five acts to a 90-minute sprint—which the Pearl Theater is now presenting in a satisfyingly sturdy staging...Hal Brooks’s modern-dress production does well by the story...Mr. Cole fully comes into his own as Stockmann...
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October 13th, 2016
"Harrower's version, which eliminates some minor characters, streamlines the text, moving so fast that the characters are all but reduced to puppets, striking new attitudes every few minutes...This production is probably good enough to introduce the inexperienced to 'An Enemy of the People,' but ...
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October 16th, 2016
“David Harrower’s new streamlined version of Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’ retitled ‘Public Enemy’ is rousingly taut and tense. Performed in modern dress, the Ibsen original has been updated in language so that it has a believably modern feel. While Ibsen’s 1882 drama dealt with ecology ...
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October 10th, 2016
"The Pearl could not have picked a better time to give us 'Public Enemy'...Although this is an adaptation, it isn’t far from what’s written in 'An Enemy of the People.' Trump-mania is not specific to this year...Keating as Aslasken is a cheeky scene stealer. I was laughing hysterically every time...
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