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Theater Review: 'The Other Place' -- 2 stars

Laurie Metcalf, left, and Zoe Perry during a

Laurie Metcalf, left, and Zoe Perry during a performance of "The Other Place." Credit: Laurie Metcalf, left, and Zoe Perry during a performance of "The Other Place."

The Other Place
2 stars

I must confess that I didn't bother to see Sharr White's "The Other Place" when it premiered Off-Broadway two years ago, having heard mixed things about the play.

Now that it's playing a limited run on Broadway, the time finally came for me to sit through all 80 minutes of this uninteresting drama.

"Roseanne" actress Laurie Metcalf plays Juliana Smithton, a late middle-aged, business-oriented neuroscientist who, while promoting a new drug designed to fight dementia, appears to be having her own serious mental health issues.

Perhaps in denial, she flatly insists that she is suffering from brain cancer, much to the exasperation of her soon to be ex-husband (played nicely by Daniel Stern), who is himself an oncologist.

Juliana directly addresses the audience as if they are attendees at a medical convention. After spending most of the show in a witty and argumentative vein, she eventually turns jittery and scared.

Directed by Joe Mantello, "The Other Place" is essentially a stream of consciousness monologue padded with a few scenes and flashbacks to add a bit of substance and suspense.

It feels derived from previous plays about smart women confronting illness, such as "Proof" and "Wit."

With all due respect to Metcalf, who never leaves the stage and gives a brave and raw performance, "The Other Place" leaves much to be desired. It's a shame that more people didn't get to see her in the 2009 revival of Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs," which closed practically overnight.


If you go: "The Other Place" plays through Feb. 2 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. 261 W. 47th St., Manhattantheatreclub.com.

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