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Review: NETWORK Opens the Citadel Theatre's 2022-2023 Season

Review: NETWORK Opens the Citadel Theatre's 2022-2023 Season

The production runs through October 9.

Howard Beale has officially lost it. After decades of hosting the evening news, he spectacularly melts down during a live broadcast. Much to his and his colleagues' bemusement, their struggling TV network's ratings soar, propelling Howard into infamy. At his gleeful superiors' encouragement, Howard's subsequent shows become increasingly manic and his hunger for fame insatiable.

Based off the 1976 satire film of the same name, Network opens the 2022/2023 season at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre. Oscar-winning screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky's bitingly clever stage adaptation previously enjoyed a 6-month Broadway run from 2018-2019 and starred Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale. Daryl Cloran's Edmonton version is an equally impressive feat complete with an outstanding ensemble cast and striking technical elements.

Jim Mezon masterfully takes on the formidable role of the larger-than-life Howard Beale. Mezon completely disappears into the character from the moment he on stage, cracking razor- sharp jokes one moment and launching into chilling, grandiose soliloquies the next. Emphasizing Howard's sinister rise to ideological power are the towering multimedia screens behind him, which often depict multiple versions of a raving Howard. The same multimedia screen depicts zoomed-in versions of the production's other pivotal scenes, creating the atmosphere of a concert while inviting audiences to become the proverbial fly on the wall. Among video designer Hugh Conacher's other multimedia visuals are often humorous 1975 commercials played on the TV screens in the network's newsroom sound booth.

Though Howard Beale may be the network's most scandalous employee, his colleagues aren't without conniving ulterior motives. His boss, Max Schumacher (Alex Poch-Goldin) along with other network executives Diana Christiansen (Alana Hawley Purvis) and Frank Hackett (Richard Young) tirelessly concoct even more behind-the-scenes schemes to harness Howard's increasing influence for not only the network's gain, but also their own. Every performer from the leading actors to the silent onstage camera operators are key players in both the production and fictional TV network, magnifying the near omnipresence of media. As finishing touches, Lorenzo Savoini's lighting design adds an additional element of foreboding while Carmen Alatorre's costumes further bring the 1975 setting to life.

Network plays at The Citadel Theatre until October 9.

Photo Credit: Nanc Price




From This Author - Sarah Dussome


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