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BWW Review: Daniel Radcliffe in Funny, Fascinating and Frightening PRIVACY

Audience members are asked to keep their cell phones on during Privacy, a cleverly done half-play, half-public service announcement, co-created by author James Graham and director Josie Rourke, that just opened at The Public, by way of London's Donmar Warehouse.

Daniel Radcliffe, Reg Rogers, and Harry Davies
(Photo: Joan Marcus)

There are even electric outlets at The Edge of the stage, in case someone needs to charge up during intermission.

We all know that modern technology has ways of monitoring our Internet use, spending habits and even our locations throughout the day, but the interactive aspects of Privacy, where Audience members are asked to make specific searches and explore special functions on their phones, point out how extensively public our lives really are.

What starts off as funny becomes fascinating and, by the end, turns frightening.

Joining the excellent acting ensemble is a fellow named Harry Davies, who silently sits upstage during the performance working at his laptop. If you read the fine print before purchasing your ticket, you'll know you've agreed that any of the information you gave to The Public may be used to find publicly accessible information about you that could be used during the play. (They do offer a way to opt-out.)

Daniel Radcliffe gives an extremely likable and empathetic performance as an introverted everyperson writer, a lonely fellow who misses his ex after a bad breakup. He moves to New York on a whim, not just because his ex now lives in Manhattan, and tries starting anew, though he's taken to sitting alone at a Broome Street diner most nights.

Rachel Dratch, De'Adre Aziza, Michael Countryman,
Daniel Radcliffe and Reg Rogers
?(Photo: Joan Marcus)

De'Adre Aziza, Michael Countryman, Raffi Barsoumian, Rachel Dratch and Reg Rogers all play various people who pop in and out of his life, as well as nearly two dozen experts who offer mini-lectures about their areas of expertise, such as OKCupid President Christian Rudder, New York Civil Liberties Union Director of Communications Ujala Sehgal and FBI Director James Comey. There's even a video appearance by Edward Snowden, whose actions proving the insecurity of information inspired the piece.

The first half of the evening playfully demonstrates the multitude of ways our virtual identities are formed. There's even a chance to go on a speed-date with Radcliffe. But by the time Snowden appears, alluding to Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST in 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.

Next time you pay for theatre tickets, you may want to consider using cash.


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From This Author Michael Dale