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the effect : edgy theatre @ the old fitz

I am a big fan of this play  having seen it before in mid 2014 when the Sydney  Theatre Company put on a production directed by Sarah Goodes and starring Angie Milliken.

Prebble’s play is a four hander. Emilie Cocquerel and Firass Dirani play Connie and Tristan, two young people who are paid volunteers participating in a pharmaceutical company’s trial of a new antidepressant drug. Emma Jackson plays Lorna, the Doctor running the trial and Johnny Nasser is the supervising medico.

Dr Lorna’s hope that the clinical drug trial will go through smoothly are dashed when Connie and Tristan fall for each other and begin relations. Are Connie and Tristan falling for each other because of the effect of the happy pills they are taking? Will their relationship continue after they leave the clinic? Will Lorna have to abandon the trial because of their aberrant behaviour?!

At its heart, THE EFFECT asks  some very loaded questions. Can scientific experiments ever be totally validated? How, in life, do we ever know what is authentic/real and what isn’t? And furthermore, is what we are seeing ‘real’ or is it simply an effect of something else?!

Yes, Prebble’s play is a bit of a headtrip. Seeing this play almost feels like one is sitting in a University Philosophy tutorial…

Andrew Henry’s production serves the play. The performances are of a high quality; Emma Jackson’s Lorna is angst ridden and at times distraught, Johnny Nassar’s Toby is old-school uptight,  Emilie Cocquerel’s  Connie is willful and searching, and Firass Dirani is the dreamier, more impulsive Tristan.

There are flashy effects in Brodie Simpson’s set design, some fine moments in Alexander Berlage’s lighting-scape and Benjamin Freeman  provides edgy piano accompaniment, perched ‘aloft’ at the side of the stage.

A final thought, throwing my hat in Prebble’s ring…Just because a rainbow is the effect of the freakish interaction of water droplets with sunlight, does it make any less beautiful and wondrous?!

Recommended, Lucy Prebble’s THE EFFECT is playing the Old Fitz Theatre [Facebook] until the 19th May, 2018.



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