The Other Place, written by Sharr White and directed by Daniel Brooks, is a beautiful piece that takes its audience in slowly, almost blindfolded. It throws medical jargon at us. It bombards us with flashbacks. It gets our cognitive gears turning. Then slowly but surely, it turns on little light bulbs for us, one at a time, and what we see is horrifyingly painful. But we get it. We've been let in on the secret. Now we know.
The Other Place has been running consistently both on and off Broadway since its world premiere in 2011. This psychological thriller follows the life of Juliana Smithton (Tamsin Kelsey), a neurologist who has worked her way up the totem pole to be a well-respected professional woman in a man's world. When her once brilliant mind starts to fail her, her life begins falling apart piece by piece and nothing around her is as it seems.
Director Daniel Brooks casts a frigid spell over the audience, building a world of icy instability for us to get lost in for a little while. Then, everything that is confusing and terrifying suddenly becomes painfully heartbreaking. You never stop feeling during this show.
Assisted by a wonderfully talented cast, this play hits all the right emotions at all the right moments. Jim Mezon and Tamsin Kelsey perfectly juxtapose one another, creating a spot-on personality-clashing couple that drives the story along.
The aesthetic world of the play is brought to life by the gorgeous productions by designer Jamie Nesbitt, who visually takes the audience to different worlds all within one simple and versatile set design by Judith Bowden. From crashing waves to chromosomes, this duo has you entrapped.
In a nutshell, this show has it all. It is aesthetically stunning and it has s a high-stake, powerful script, a focused direction and a compelling cast. Bravo.
The Other Place runs at Canadian Stage's Bluma Appel Theatre until Feb. 8. For more information, visit www.canadianstage.com.
photo credit: David Hou