Daniel Radcliffe returns to the New York stage in "Privacy" a new work about how today's technology can render our private lives rather public. NY1’s Roma Torre filed the following review.
Daniel Radcliffe stars in "Privacy", a play that was inspired by Edward Snowden's revelations concerning the NSA's ability to spy on ordinary citizens. Snowden is even featured in a pre-recorded segment late in the production. However, had he seen this most provocative work, he might not have gone through all the trouble of blowing that whistle. Because as it is so convincingly made clear in "Privacy,” it's not just government that we have to fear. Big Brother has arrived.
Radcliffe plays a British writer who values his privacy, but as a loner, he finds it hard to make personal connections. So after visiting a therapist, he decides to come to America where he believes it's easier to share feelings. Radcliffe turns in a fine performance, but the contrived plot is peripheral to the message, and that is, basically, in this high-tech digital age, there is no privacy.
Rachel Dratch, Reg Rogers, Michael Countryman, De’Adre Aziza and Raffi Barsoumian play dozens of actual people who have figured prominently in the "privacy" debate - names like U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and FBI Director James Comey you may have heard of. Most of the others - academics, authors and internet moguls - maybe not. However, they were all interviewed by the play's creators and with the help of a "researcher" seated in the back of the stage, they demonstrate how easy it is to hack into our personal lives.
Writer James Graham collaborated with Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director 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.