The Verdict: Critics Review Machinal

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17 Jan 2014

Machinal, the 1928 drama inspired by real-life murderer Ruth Snyder, opened Jan. 16 at the American Airlines Theatre.

Starring Rebecca Hall in her Broadway debut as Young Woman, the character based on Snyder, who is sentenced to death, Machinal is directed by Lyndsey Turner (Chimerica at Almeida; Philadelphia, Here I Come! at Donmar), also making her Broadway debut.

Tony Award nominees Suzanne Bertish (The Moliére Comedies) and Michael Cumpsty (The Winslow Boy, End of the Rainbow) play Mother and Husband, respectively, with Drama Desk nominee Morgan Spector (Russian Transport) as Lover.

Rounding out the cast are Damian Baldet (The Lion King), Ashley Bell ("The Last Exorcism"), Jeff Biehl (Off-Broadway's Burning), Arnie Burton (The 39 Steps), Ryan Dinning ("The Carrie Diaries"), Scott Drummond (Off-Broadway's A Perfect Future), Dion Graham (Not About Nightingales), Edward James Hyland (Arcadia), Jason Loughlin (national tour of War Horse), Maria-Christina Oliveras (Off-Broadway's Here Lies Love), Daniel Pearce (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Henny Russell (The Winslow Boy), Karen Walsh (Other Desert Cities) and Michael Warner (Off-Broadway's Scarcity).

Here's how the play is billed: "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? For the Young Woman (Hall), a stenographer in the industrial, male-dominated world of the 1920s, life is nothing like she hoped it would be. Restless and unfulfilled in a passionless marriage and unwanted motherhood, she finds her only joy in the form of an illicit love affair. But when reality sets in and she must return to her routine existence, she’ll go to any lengths to regain her freedom. A groundbreaking work in the landscape of American theatre, Machinal is a riveting look at the danger that can come from a life unlived."



The creative team includes Es Devlin (sets), Michael Krass (costumes), Jane Cox (lights) and Matt Tierney (sound).

The critics have filed their reviews, and Playbill.com has collected them for our readers. Playbill.com will continue to update our list as the reviews come in.

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