The Effect by Lucy Prebble

If there’s a topic sought after in theatre right now, it would most likely be mental health and how we deal with it. Lucy Prebble’s The Effect addresses this from a more medical perspective, set within a drug trial testing a new antidepressant with fantastic characters played well by the cast of four.

Characters appear completely natural and their emotional reactions are immaculate, making for an stimulating performance

Upon meeting Tristan (Nick Farr) and Connie (Keziah Hall), two individuals from diverse backgrounds, we detect an instant attraction. Starting off light and enjoyable to watch, their encounters begin to take a darker turn as the dosage increases and their feelings intensify.

At first, Farr’s performance as Tristan is slightly overacted and unrealistic, although this dissolves in the next scene. Arguably one of the most difficult roles in the play due to the unpredictable effects of the trial, Farr does a fine job of taking on a range of emotions whilst upholding Tristan’s charm, causing the majority of the comedic moments in the play.

Farr is well matched by Israel’s Connie, whose scenes are consistently entertaining and fascinating as she is one of the characters we see the most changes in. The intimate scenes between Connie and Tristan are handled maturely by the two performers and the montage showing their first night together is an endearing depiction of new love, bringing laughter and empathy to the audience.

Doctor Lorna James (Kirrily Long) and medical fanatic Doctor Toby Sealey (Jeremy Crow) do a lesser job of developing a relationship between their characters that has the life to it that the romance between Farr and Hall has. Past relations between the two are evident immediately, which is amusingly relatable in its awkwardness, but has an occasional tendency to drag next to Tristan and Connie’s scenes. Crow’s Doctor Sealey is truthful in his firm beliefs regarding mental health and gives a truly funny and memorable performance when presenting a brain to the audience, although he shows depth when it comes to Sealey’s lack of understanding of the illnesses he attempts to cure.

Nonetheless, moments between Long and Crow provide a lasting impression as they carry the important discussions surrounding mental health and the skepticism regarding biological treatment for depression, showcasing views some will recognise, such as “we’re going to look back on this chemical imbalance stuff like it’s the four humours”, which is stated by Long. Long herself provides the outstanding performance of the evening, her good intentions and views on the issues within the play taking Doctor James from a character seemingly there to support the storyline to the person in the heart of it, her performance ranging from cynical to gentle to devastating.

Characters appear completely natural and their emotional reactions are immaculate, making for an stimulating performance. Thanks to director Tess Gill, whose own experience with Brighton Little Theatre likely made an impact on her ability to take a good script, as well as an incredible set of actors, to bring us The Effect

Reviews by Carmen Dupre

The Warren: The Blockhouse

10 Steps To Happiness

★★★★
Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT)

Spurious

★★★
Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT)

The Lives They Left Behind

★★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

BA Theatre Arts Graduate Shows

★★★★
Exeter Street Hall

She Denied Nothing

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Hearts racing. Minds reeling. Knees buckling. Connie and Tristan have palpable chemistry; or is it a side effect of a new super-antidepressant? They are volunteers in a clinical trial, but their sudden and illicit romance forces the supervising doctors to face-off over the ethical consequences of their work. From Lucy Prebble, “one of the UK’s hottest new playwrights” (The Telegraph), 'The Effect' takes on our pill-popping culture with humour and scintillating drama.

Most Popular See More

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Anything Goes

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets