by Sharr White
Directed by Joe Mantello
Starring Laurie Metcalf
Presented by the Manhattan Theate Club
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Reviewed by David Spencer

It's surprising that it took two years for this play to reach Broadway after a striking off Broadway success, given that it's essentially the same production…but then again, scheduling may have been dictated by the availability of the star, who had some major gigs in the interim. And you wouldn't have wanted to lose her. Here's how I reviewed it originally:

I’m rather glad to be writing of Sharr White’s excellent play The Other Place in brief because it relieves me of finding ways to dance around describing its plot without giving anything important away. I had the great blessing of not knowing anything about it when I attended, so the discovery of what’s really going on with its seemingly self-possessed lead character—a pharmaceutical executive named Juliana (Laurie Metcalf, giving what may be the tour de force performance of her career)—took me by surprise, as I hope it takes you. This is a wonderful, compelling “page turner” of a play and I daresay the less you allow yourself to know going in, the more it’ll rock you as you experience it. It’s a production of MCC which is perhaps arguably most notable for having pushed Margaret Edson’s play W;t into high profile. Well, The Other Place is very much on a par, with a supporting cast (Dennis Boutsikaris, Aya Cash and John Schiappa) and direction (Joe Mantello) to match. 80 intermissionless minutes that make up what may be the single most “must see” non-revival play of the season so far.

A second time around, and my enthusiasm isn't quite so high, but there isn't enough of a difference to put a damper on things. I must say I like the play less in a big Broadway setting. Given the subject matter and approach, I miss the intimacy of a smaller theatre. I also really miss the bottled, increasingly pressurized intensity of Dennis Boutsikaris (who specializes in such energies) as our heroine's husband. The role's inheritor, Daniel Stern, is perfectly fine, but he tends toward muted sadness with bursts of anguish, which is more passie and less effective. But the trade off o Zoe Perry (Ms. Mertcalf's real-life daughter) for Aya Cash is an even and satsfying one, so there's that.

All in all, I still feel discretion is the soul of fair reviewing here, since I still count The Other Place as a noteworthy American play, so further deponent sayeth not—other than to add, by all means, goeth.

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