Cranston is compelling as the TV anchorman-gone-rogue in Ivo Van Hove and Lee Hall’s dazzling stage version of the 1976 film
Flesh and gizmo. Substance and reflections. Watchers and watched. A massive whirling mix of the mechanical and the human. Ivo van Hove’s electric staging of Network restores at a stroke my faltering esteem for this director. Lee Hall’s adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 film makes this look like a prescient, urgent text. It lands with messianic zeal: on press night the audience at the National, not instinctive risers, were up on their feet as if at a revivalist meeting.
A jutting-jawed anchorman, galvanically embodied by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, gets fired from a commercial news channel because of poor ratings – and cracks up. Or cracks open, to reveal a palpitating, anti-news-as-entertainment spirit. “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!