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Review Roundup: MACHINAL Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!

Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Machinal, starring Rebecca Hall, written by Sophie Treadwell and directed by Lyndsey Turner, opens tonight, January 16, 2014 at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway. Machinal is a limited engagement through March 2.

The cast includes Suzanne Bertish as "Mother", Morgan Spector as "Lover", Michael Cumpsty as "Husband", and Damian Baldet,Ashley Bell, Jeff Biehl, Arnie Burton, Ryan Dinning, Scott Drummond, Dion Graham, Edward James Hyland, Jason Loughlin, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Daniel Pearce, Henny Russell, Karen Walsh, Michael Warner.

Inspired by the infamous 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, Machinal is a gripping drama by American journalist and playwright Sophie Treadwell. It's America's Golden Age, a time of happiness, freedom and prosperity -- or is it?

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Michael Dale, BroadwayWorld: ...Machinal, now revived in its original form in a striking production directed by Lyndsey Turner, chugs to the furious pace of its own rhythms in telling an expressionistic tale of a woman unable to keep up with the full-speed machinations of male-dominated 20th Century life; an ordinary woman driven to an extraordinary deed by a taste of what life can offer when she allows herself the freedom to live as she pleases. Unnamed and stripped of any biographical details, the central character of the drama is played with chillingly pale, tense timidity by Rebecca Hall.

Ben Brantley, The New York Times: Yet in "Machinal"...Ms. Hall must struggle to hold her own against an overbearing co-star. That would be Es Devlin's revolving, scene-stealing set, which portrays a juggernaut of doom -- i.e., modern urban existence -- that flattens all in its path. You might say such a battle, pitting a lone specimen of humanity against a marvel of technology and artifice, only underscores the haunting determinism of "Machinal," and I wouldn't argue. And even if the Young Woman is clearly headed for extinction from the first scene, Ms. Hall's emotionally transparent performance is never overwhelmed by what surrounds it.

Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: The Roundabout Theatre Company's new production has kept the quirky engine but surrounded it with a good-looking chassis and new lighting and audio systems. It's even put in the driving seat the enormously appealing Rebecca Hall under the artful, creative direction of Lyndsey Turner. The result at the American Airlines Theatre is a quirky, sometimes melodramatic and expressionist scream from the past that somehow still can move you...Hall...uses her wide, soulful eyes to terrific effect, telegraphing her inexorable 95-minute march to ultimate tragedy. A tall, long-limbed beauty, Hall projects a coltish unease and otherworldliness in the role, a woman ultimately in the wrong place and time.

Marilyn Stasio, Variety: Enthralled as we are to our digital gadgetry, you'd think we'd identify with the heroine of "Machinal," Sophie Treadwell's 1928 Expressionistic melodrama (inspired by the infamous Ruth Snyder case) about a woman driven to murder trying to escape her fate in a mechanized society. Helmer Lyndsey Turner's stunning production creates an appropriately bleak environment for this dark drama, and Rebecca Hall (a member of British theatrical royalty better known for her movie work) makes a compelling case for this fragile creature. But it's tough to empathize with someone who lacks a backbone and hasn't a brain in her head.

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: Staged this time by British director Lyndsey Turner with uncompromising rigor, the play's nine "episodes" unfold in a revolving rectangular box created by design magician Es Devlin. This functions like a gallery of grim dioramas...The striking visuals of Devlin's sets are deepened by Jane Cox's shadowy, cinematic lighting effects, by the subdued color palette of Michael Krass' costumes, and by a murky soundscape designed by Matt Tierney that incorporates composer Matthew Herbert's unsettling score. The combined effect is dour but often darkly beautiful...This is a tough play with an intensity that doesn't let up, and the actors all respond to it with full-force commitment...But it's Hall who rivets attention, holding nothing back in her tortured portrayal of this everywoman's dehumanizing downward spiral as she's failed by her own survival skills and by everyone around her.

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