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Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: ‘The Other Place’ complex drama at Dover Little Theatre – Victoria Steele is marvelous

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This past Sunday we visited for the first time the intimate Dover Little Theatre to see a production of Sharr White's The Other Place. The play premiered off-Broadway early in 2011 and later moved to Broadway.

The last production here in New Jersey was at the professional Dreamcatcher Rep Company in Summit two seasons ago. We gave the play high marks with special recognition of the performance of the lead actress. This presentation directed by Alison Devereaux is equally impressive due in large part to the exciting, intense performance of her lead actress Victoria Steele. Ms. Steele is rarely off the stage as she beautifully negotiates the emotional roller coaster ride the part requires.

10488196_866221253444954_4643680522700954820_n Sharr White has written a powerful, challenging puzzle of a psycho-drama that defies the normal reviewer description. The only plot elements we are willing to reveal in this complex drama are that Victoria Steele plays Juliana, a brilliant Boston scientist turned drug salesperson who is troubled by her failing marriage and the loss of her daughter to a colleague 15 years her daughter's senior. (Victor Gallo with Victoria Steele right)

We first meet her center stage making a slide presentation to a medical conference in a hotel in St. Thomas. She shares her thoughts with us particularly about the strange girl dressed only in a yellow bikini seated in the center of the physicians. Via a series of relatively short scenes the conference presentation is interrupted as we meet her husband, Ian, an oncologist (Victor Gallo); their estranged daughter, Laurel (Jen O'Malley Dorr); Laurel's husband, Richard (Larry Pelham); and Cindy a young doctor treating Juliana (Jen O'Malley Dorr doubles).

To reveal any further details would spoil your enjoyment of this clever play where nothing is as it seems.  One thing to note; the play's title The Other Place is how Julianna and Ian refer to their summer house on Cape Cod.

13407_866221303444949_8791875478305926306_n The supporting cast are all fine: Victor Gallo nicely handles the  challenges of his emotionally drained character. Jen O'Malley Dorr is fine doubling several roles particularly as the daughter Laurel. Larry Pelham who also doubles several roles is most effective as Laurel's husband Richard.

The multi-talented Alison Devereaux has designed a sparse series of wood frames placed at either side of the stage that serve nicely to define the space. The rear center stage is reserved for the very effective use of video projection. In fact, the slides and and other video displays are the the originals from the Broadway production.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio     June 14, 2015

The show opened June 12, 2015  and runs until June 27, 2015. Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. There will be a talk back following the two Sunday matinees.

Tickets are $17 and can be purchased at Smart Tix. Subscribers may reserve seats by calling the theatre at 973-328-9202. http://www.doverlittletheatre.org/
The theater is located in a residential area at 69 Elliott Street in Dover, NJ just off Route 513.

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