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REVIEW – The Other Place at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa - by Harry Duke

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REVIEW – The Other Place at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa - by Harry Duke

6th Street Playhouse’s Studio Series opens with The Other Place, a compact, effective little psycho-drama/mystery directed by David Lear.  While the story treads the familiar “nothing is quite what it seems” territory of your typical modern mystery, the lead performance of Petra Sperling-Nordqvist is absolutely riveting.

Juliana Smithton (Sperling-Nordqvist) is on the island of St. Thomas giving her umpteenth sales pitch for a new pharmaceutical she’s developed. She’s thrown off her script by the appearance of an oddly dressed guest. As she continues with her presentation, we see vignettes of other moments in Juliana’s life involving her husband (Clark Miller), a doctor (Angelina Martin), an ex-associate (John Browning) and others. Some of these moments are from Juliana’s past; others take place at a time after the presentation. Or did they take place at all? You see, Juliana had a “medical event” during her speech and something’s not quite right with her. She thinks she has brain cancer, but extensive testing shows otherwise. What is the source of her condition? And how reliable is she as she tells her story?

Angelina Martin, John Browning, Petra Sperling-Nordqvist, Clark Miller

Clark Miller, Petra Sperling-NordqvistSimply staged for the Studio Theatre, this show rests firmly on the protagonist’s shoulders and Ms. Sperling-Nordqvist is well up to the task. Commanding the stage for almost the entirety of the show’s 80 minutes, she takes her character from rock-solid self-assurance to the depths of despair that comes from losing one’s self and, to a certain extent (and, ironically, with pharmacological help), back again.

Good work is done by the small ensemble, with Miller as a confused but caring husband and Browning and Martin each handling several characters. Scenic and projection design by Steven Piechocki was minimalist but effective for this piece.

The Other Place is one of several interesting modern dramas being performed in the area right now and a decided and welcome change of pace for local theatre goers

The Other Place

through September 27

Thurs/Fri/Sat @ 8pm  Sat/Sun @2pm

6th Street Playhouse
52 W. 6th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 523-4185

www.6thstreetplayhouse.com                     

Photos by Eric Chazankin

Harry Duke Theater Revuews