Poor Cause. No matter how hard he works, it’s his companion Effect who feels the results. Sick of dieting so that Effect can lose weight, or wooing ladies only for his other half to reap the rewards in the bedroom, Cause vows to break off their millennia-old relationship. Playwright Larry Jay Tish (who also plays the nonchalant rogue Effect) has come up with an amusing concept. It produces some funny returns, despite feeling a bit like a joke which gets a little out of hand at times.
Anthropomorphised as a pair of bickering buddies, Cause and Effect take us on a silly, chatty romp through the ups and downs of the principle of causality. It’s a cross between a buddy comedy and a philosophy-lite lecture, throwing out quotations from Hume and Kant as Effect tries to prove that he and Cause are meant to be together. The educational aspect of the show doesn’t always work in its favour; jokes are occasionally laboured and the narrative tends to tell rather than show. A more coherent plot, a faster turnover of jokes and less didacticism would have helped the pacing.
After Cause’s escape to the circus is thwarted, he takes it out on Effect by using their two-way relationship to harass him. Hash brownies are ingested, golf clubs make contact with a different kind of balls – and it’s Effect who feels the, uh, effects. The actors have an indecent amount of fun milking the silliness for all its worth. Their rapport with the audience papers over the concept as it wears thin. It doesn’t hurt that Larry Jay Tish and his partner in crime Rob DiNinni are irrepressibly funny and impossibly exuberant.
It was a handful of technical mishaps which led to some of the best lines of the night. In fact, much of the story felt improvised, like the theatrics of a pair of imaginative kids who have struck upon an idea they find hilarious but which they cannot always communicate to best effect to an audience. It’s fun, several moments are genuinely great, and you can’t fault their enthusiasm – and watch out for a free souvenir at the end.