Review: Utah Rep’s ‘The Other Place’ a drama well worth visiting

From left, JayC Stoddard, Stephanie Howell and Eric Cadora appear in Utah Repertory Theatre's "The Other Place," with Andrea Peterson (not pictured). Photo: Utah Rep

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 22, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — As “The Other Place” opens, Julianna presents herself as intelligent woman with an impressive career, dealing with personal heartbreak.

She is convinced her doctor husband, Ian, is seeing a younger woman, yet he flatly refuses to discuss it. Julianna’s daughter, on the other hand, seems to be back in her life after a long and painful absence.

It’s this Julianna, resentful yet hopeful, who we meet when a medical “episode” during a major sales presentation sends her to the doctor in search of answers.

So goes “The Other Place,” a powerful and moving drama in regional premiere at Utah Repertory Theatre.

The 2011 play, by Sharr White, opened Off Broadway and earned Laurie Metcalf an Obie Award for playing the central character, in this production played masterfully by Stephanie Howell.

The story is told mostly from Julianna’s point of view, which shifts from beginning to end, revealing a reality that will alarm the audience an ultimately leave viewers enlightened, empathetic and moved.

If you are not familiar with the plot, do yourself a favor and don’t research it before you go to the theater. Allow yourself to discover what happens as Juliana does for full impact.

Howell is breathtaking as Julianna, a strong woman of high intelligence and brittle wit, who finds her life changing in ways she never could have predicted and is struggling to accept. She alternates between delivering her marketing presentation, talking to the audience, and dealing with other characters on stage.

Husband Ian, played by Eric Cadora, switches between affection for his wife and crippling frustration with her. Both Howell and Cadora are so authentic in their roles, you will forget they are acting.

Playing the rest of the roles are JayC Stoddard and Andrea Peterson, who slip into each persona with seemingly effortless ease, moving the story along and adding layers of reality.

Director Jason Bowcutt has done of a beautiful job of bring the characters and story together in a way that leaves the audience both stunned and hopeful.

The show’s all-too-short-run ends March 4. For ticket information, click here.



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