Review: The Effect – An Experiment Worth Taking Part In
Entering into the theatrical space of The Effect was like entering into an experiment ourselves; the subject matter thrust into our minds would test us all. On arrival we were given hospital wristbands that unified the audience as we sat down to face, not only the stage, but also the other half of the audience that the promenade staging allowed. The intimacy of the space and the confrontation of clinical lighting provided a creative environment that explored how we understand ourselves and the effect we can have on each other. Powerfully engaging and dynamic, the cast of four enthralled the audience as we grappled collectively with Lucy Prebble’s script, a microcosmic mesh of love and breakups, depression and psychoanalysis all compressed into the catalyst: a drug-testing unit.
The intimacy of the space and the confrontation of clinical lighting provided a creative environment that explored how we understand ourselves and the effect we can have on each other
The play circled mostly around Tristan and Connie, two subjects involved in a drug testing experiment who fall in love during the process. The story then expands to include Lorna, the doctor conducting the experiment, and Toby who is responsible for the new drug. Complications arise as the doctors examine the couple: has Toby discovered a ‘viagra for the heart’ or is one of the subjects on placebo?
All four cast members produced fiercely moving performances as we were swept through a storm of emotions. However, it was Izzy Kynoch, playing Lorna, who gave the performance of the night. Filled with frustration at her own depression, the doctor took to the stage alone and, interacting invasively but effectively with the audience, gave us a glimpse into the self-abusive conflict of a depressed mind.
All four cast members produced fiercely moving performances as we were swept through a storm of emotions
While the science behind love and depression was questioned, it was the chemistry between the characters that presented the joys and risks of human connection. The Effect was brave, frequently crossing into a realm of theatre powerful enough to change opinions.
Image courtesy of LUU Theatre Group