Theater: Comic Potential

By Alan Ayckbourn

On a TV soap opera in the future, actors have been replaced by robots, or "actoids," and one of them is acting up--showing signs of a human-like sense of humor. In the Manhattan Theatre Club's U.S. premiere of Ayckbourn's West End success, Janie Dee reprises her astonishing London performance as a robot whose emotions are an amalgam of all the bad scenes she's ever played. The play is astonishing too: at once a shrewd satire of TV, a warming love story and a potent meditation on the nature of humanity.

--By Richard Zoglin

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