Theater Review: The Roundabout’s High-Powered Machinal

Perhaps Treadwell was offering a style, not a critique, because only Helen, among the characters, can’t take it. She hyperventilates, pulls at her hair, and seems on the verge of tears at all times. As delivered by Rebecca Hall in an overwhelming performance, her pressured speech is volcanic; the (interpolated) vision of her zombie wedding and (scripted) scene of her wedding night are excruciating. Granted, her husband, the boss she married to get out of the office, is a horrible prig, given to sententious self-congratulatory catchphrases. (Michael Cumpsty, a handsome man, has now made a brilliant specialty of playing undesirable boors.) He literally causes her to gag. Having a child merely alienates her further. It is only in the play’s central scenes that she catches a break, in the form of a manly but gentle lover straight out of a Hollywood dream. (Morgan Spector ably fills the wifebeater of Clark

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