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NY1 Theater Review: "The Other Place"

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She is still best known to many for her three-time Emmy-winning work on the TV series "Roseanne," but Laurie Metcalf is also a celebrated veteran of the stage, and now she is back on the New York boards in the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of "The Other Place." NY1's Roma Torre filed the following report.

Laurie Metcalf is an extremely talented actress and a smart one. She chose to star in "The Other Place" by relatively unknown playwright Sharr White over David Mamet's "The Anarchist." Shrewd move -- it's a plum role for Metcalf. Firing on all cylinders, she makes MTC's Friedman Theatre the place to be for anyone who appreciates the art and craft of fine acting.

Juliana is a hotshot who wears figure-flattering power suits and spiky heels like a second skin. A brilliant scientist, she travels the country pitching a breakthrough drug to doctors and she most certainly knows her stuff. But what she doesn't yet know is that her mind is slipping. And for this arrogant, demanding character, it might as well be a death sentence.

The play, combining elements of high drama, suspense yarn and heart-wrenching tragedy, is sharply written. As scenes jump back and forth in place and time, nothing is quite what it seems.

But far from confusing, the deeply felt production unfolds with progressive clarity. Joe Mantello's pointed direction deserves great credit for keeping things on track without ever sacrificing White's impressionistic touches.

It's an impressive collaboration all around with an exceptional cast. Zoe Perry delivers beautifully in multiple roles and Daniel Stern, best known as the bumbling burglar in the "Home Alone" films, is unrecognizable here as a distinguished oncologist and Juliana's exasperated husband.

But this is Metcalf’s show and she is stunning. Holding the stage for the entire duration and then some, she runs the emotional gamut like a marathoner. From the peaks of Juliana's medical research to the valleys of her harrowing mental condition, there are no false steps and each turn is as honest as it is grippingly intense.

"The Other Place" is not a perfect play but Metcalf and company have made it destination theater.

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