Daniel Radcliffe gets his facts straight in ‘Lifespan’

Daniel Radcliffe gets his facts straight in ‘Lifespan’

They’re Broadway’s new odd couple: an eager-beaver fact-checker and an boastful creator who treats the reality like Foolish Putty.

That’s the setup for “The Lifespan of a Reality,” the so-so sitcom that opened Thursday and whose largest bragging proper is bringing Daniel Radcliffe again to Broadway for the fourth time in 10 years. With Harry Potter now in his rearview, the 29-year-old English actor has confirmed himself a professional, whether or not tackling drama (“Equus,” “The Cripple of Inishmaan”), a musical (“Easy methods to Succeed in Enterprise With out Actually Attempting”) and, now, comedy.

The previous boy wizard is on his recreation right here as Jim Fingal, {a magazine} intern recruited by a high editor, Emily (Cherry Jones), to verify the accuracy of an article by John D’Agata (Bobby Cannavale). John is a author who prizes fashion above facts, and he gained’t be questioned about these — least of all by a lowly drone.

Sparks fly in opposition to a looming print deadline (working it on-line apparently isn’t an possibility) and a dilemma: Can Emily launch the story, a couple of Las Vegas suicide, riddled with inaccuracies?

The play is customized from a 2012 e book by the actual D’Agata and Fingal, based mostly on their five-plus-year back-and-forth correspondence concerning the Sin Metropolis saga and the hole between facts and poetic license. You don’t should squint to see the connection to right this moment’s conversations about pretend information and deceptive memoirs like “A Million Little Items.”

Reality-telling is a worthy topic, if probably tutorial and, in the case of “Lifespan,” a bit inside publishing. Realizing that, playwrights Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell ratcheted up the stakes by pruning the timeline to 5 days for a thriller-like framework. The verbal volleys will be enjoyable, however among the motion appears foolish and contrived: When Jim someway finally ends up hiding in a closet, it’s like one thing out of a “Three’s Firm” episode. Extra vexing is that the present expects us to simply accept John’s story as a well timed, topical game-changer. However why? It’s a couple of boy’s suicide in a soulless metropolis. Unhappy, however not groundbreaking.

Director Leigh Silverman’s manufacturing zips alongside because it strikes from shiny workplace to humble house. Higher nonetheless are the actors, all of whom shine.

Jim is probably the most fleshed-out character. As he morphs from earnest to rabidly overzealous, a bearded, bed-headed Radcliffe delivers a deft, deliciously sly comedian efficiency. Alongside Cannavale’s strapping John, he seems puny, an underdog in each approach.

Cannavale has much less to work with, however digs deep and gets past John’s puffy self-importance to seek out one thing poignant.

Jones, ever indispensable, provides heaps of humor because the voice of cause. That’s one thing we’d like extra of — and that’s a reality.


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