Public Enemy
Closed 1h 30m
Public Enemy

Public Enemy NYC Reviews and Tickets

(69 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. 

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Member Reviews (69)

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928 Reviews | 934 Followers
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.

888 Reviews | 1017 Followers
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.

716 Reviews | 219 Followers
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.

716 Reviews | 157 Followers
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

677 Reviews | 190 Followers
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.

688 Reviews | 116 Followers
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

512 Reviews | 79 Followers
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. Read more

406 Reviews | 188 Followers
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. Read more

Critic Reviews (16)

The New York Times
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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Lighting & Sound America
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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Theatre is Easy
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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Theater Pizzazz
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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Stage Buddy
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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Theatre's Leiter Side
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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