Closed 1h 30m
Public Enemy
Midtown W
74

Public Enemy NYC Reviews and Tickets

74%
(69 Reviews)
Positive
77%
Mixed
16%
Negative
7%
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. 

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Member Reviews (69)

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78
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.

77
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.

Critic Reviews (16)

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 turns his last stand into a grandstand about the 'majority getting what it wants'...In this society, you can be corrupt or you can be a zealot. What bleak options this thought-provoking show offers."
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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 we have seen better treatments of this script in recent memory. In the end, it tries too hard to place the action in the modern-day world of official spin, denial, and prevarication."
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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 and economics, Harrower’s version is much more pointedly political. Hal Brooks’ exciting intermission-less production makes this a timely drama in the current election season.”
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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 this quirky character crept onstage...A majority of 'Public Enemy,' however, doesn’t live up to its climax...Unfortunately, the transitions are sometimes the most interesting thing happening onstage."
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October 17th, 2016

"Eerily timely and shatteringly relevant, it is a must-see for the establishment. It deals with truth and the price truth-tellers pay, a concern throughout recorded history...The cast of 'Public Enemy' is superb, as we’ve come to expect from The Pearl, and Hal Brooks’ direction is spot-on. Jimonn Cole gives a heroic performance as Dr. Stockmann, one every acting aficionado will want to see."
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October 11th, 2016

"'Public Enemy' is certainly super timely...Harrower did more than wrestle the five-act play down to a 90-minute single act...He altered Ibsen's text so that Stockmann's targets go beyond the town's politicians to include the whole consumer society and our apathetic selves. Harrower's head-to-toe, slimmed-down text sticks to the essential story...The problem here is that the performances all around are more okay than outstanding."
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October 10th, 2016

"Harrower has fashioned a taut 90-minute intermission-less version of Ibsen’s Norwegian original...The acting in this production is disappointing—lackluster and a bit stilted. Brooks has attempted to add some excitement to key scenes by adding ominous music cues and/or bathing the stage in red light. But it’s the unnerving complexity of Ibsen’s and Harrower’s writing that dominates the proceedings and makes the show worth seeing, not the performances or the stage trappings."
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October 18th, 2016

The essential issues remain in place but everything has been brought to the level of agitprop melodrama. Whatever its value in reducing the play’s themes to a high-school civics class lesson, Harrower’s adapting the play to a present-day context simply doesn’t work. It’s not credible for Kiil, for example, to be so ignorant of the fact that bacteria can’t be seen by the naked eye and use that as an excuse to dismiss Stockmann’s claims.
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October 10th, 2016

"Harrower’s 90-minute cutbacks are not well done. The 2012 version, though longer, was much clearer and the speech in the Town Hall was riveting. Here it just seemed anti-climatic and almost tongue-in-cheek. Much of this might have to do with Cole’s portrayal or Hal Brooks' direction. Cole's characterization was much more about self than about the righteousness of it all."
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October 15th, 2016

"An appreciative but occasionally uneven mounting...Harrower’s adaptation cuts away at the vintage verbiage of the original script, and Brooks’ well-paced staging has the show clocking in at about 90 minutes with no intermission. At the same time, though, this tighter writing seems to reveal somewhat uncomfortably the schematics of Ibsen’s plotting, and a mixed bag of performances among the 11-person cast sometimes lends the proceedings the flavor of old-fashioned melodrama."
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October 13th, 2016

"That the play does not dissolve into simply a fable of generalities is a tribute to both Ibsen and Harrower...Potent questions are posed. Can one live a life without compromise? Do hypocrisy and deceit rule the world? These questions appear to be universal and ongoing...Under Hal Brooks’s attentive direction the actors perform well, with Nilaja Sun, John Keating, and Arielle Goldman being standouts."
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October 18th, 2016

"David Harrower has revised Ibsen’s text and given us a short, punchy ninety-minute version, now in an engrossing production...Hal Brooks’ direction brings up the houselights and has Stockmann accuse the audience, turning the play into a faux political rally. It strikes me that Harrower has streamlined the play but not dramatized it...The interpretation careens from noble whistleblower to egotistical demagogue, leaving me wondering if there’s anybody worth rooting for."
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October 17th, 2016

"More essential than ever...In the beginning, 'Public Enemy' seems to present itself as a clear-cut morality play...It gets interesting when it reveals its true colors as a play that does not directly deal in the dull, predictability of moral and political absolutes but instead in the contradictions inherent in any matters attached to human ego...The actors hit their stride and present the most interesting performances as their characters start to reveal their aims, interests, and initiatives."
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October 14th, 2016

"An eloquent tale of justice and ambition…Director Hal Brooks has confirmed the company’s commitment to showcasing incisive, relevant classical theater with Harrower’s masterly take...There is an unending tension between the authority and the reformist in Brooks’s conception. Within this tension is a complexity difficult to explore on stage: the variable nature of truth…A precise, magnetic production of Ibsen’s timely play."
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October 11th, 2016

"The center of the play remains as strong and elementally compelling as ever. This Stockmann, though, played by Jimonn Cole, strikes an outraged tone quite soon, truncating the scope of psychological development possible. A kind of unfortunate emotional monotony sets in...For those who don’t know 'An Enemy of the People,' 'Public Enemy' is well worth seeing, even while Harrower’s modernization prunes from the original some tension and finesse."
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October 11th, 2016

"There is a pulsing heart at the center of Hal Brooks' production of 'Public Enemy' in the role of Dr. Theo Stockman as embodied by the wonderful Jimonn Cole in a performance that is impassioned, thoughtful, raw, appropriately livid and ultimately very compelling in an otherwise straightforward and occasional murky production...The production captures the essence of an Ibsen play, the rage, the conscious, the soul of theatre telling us we must listen."
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