‘Machinal’ Examines a Wife Driven to Kill

January 17, 2014 3:05 AM

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‘Machinal’ Examines a Wife Driven to Kill

A desperate life blazes amid devouring shadows in the Roundabout Theater Company’s intensely stylish revival of “Machinal,” Sophie Treadwell’s fascinating play from 1928 about one woman’s captivity in a hell called New York City. That life is embodied by the charismatic British stage and film star Rebecca Hall, in her Broadway debut, so you can bet that it’s going to burn bright.

I’ll admit I was dubious when I learned Ms. Hall was playing the tragically crushable Young Woman in “Machinal,” which has been staged by another powerhouse Briton new to Broadway, Lyndsey Turner. In take-charge parts like Vivie in “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” (her London debut) and Rosalind in “As Yo...

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