Press night at The National Theatre saw guests like David Ajala, Harry Styles, Martina Laird, Jumoke Fashola, Sarah Niles, Michelle Greenidge, Omari Douglas, Daniel Monks, Susie Wokoma, Zawe Ashton and Tom Hiddleston, Anni Domingo, and more.
Review @kobnaholdbrooksmith @pessiedu @tayrussell @madamaustin
Directed by @jamielloyd The Effect is a slick four-hander that delivers 140 minutes of electric drama. The National Theatre has taken Lucy Prebble’s 2012 play made some slight tweaks, that help deliver an acute, modern, and mesmerising staging. Lloyd had the stars aligned when casting as the company work together to engage the audience to think, feel their “intoxicating love, question “ love and chemistry, look at drug trials and what might happen if they go wrong. Nothing is simple.
The Effect is a love story for the times we live in, two relatively “young people” meet at a clinical drug trial. But it is not as simple as boy meets girl and they run off into the sunset, Tristan (Paapa Essiedu) and Connie (Taylor Russell) question whether their sudden and intoxicating chemistry is real, or a side effect of a new antidepressant? The chemistry between the two actors draws you into their world of confusion, impulsive young love, control. The doctors played brilliantly by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Dr. Toby Sealey) and Michele Austin (Dr. Lorna James) are faced with a dilemma brought on by Connie and Tristan’s illicit romance. The doctors have their own back story, giving the play an unexpected twist. Holdbrook-Smith’s Dr. Toby Sealey is delivered with a smooth and filtered quality and a hypnotic voice, it is difficult to doubt him but should we?
It is also a fascinating and sometimes risky journey into how the brain works, how much we know about it, and how we deal with and treat depression. Lloyd’s The Effect lets the actors do the work and Soutra Gilmour’s set is minimalist, a little futuristic, with Jon Clark’s lighting uses stark white lights that highlight the actors like subjects of a study, they are under the microscope, also the actors in in the clinical trial are dressed in white. The whole play is staged without any interval which is all part of “the effect”, suave and sophisticated a play, worth seeing.
The full company is Michele Austin, Shereener Browne, Paapa Essiedu, Valentine Hanson, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Mara Huf, Joseph Langdon and Taylor Russell.
With direction by Jamie Lloyd, set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, lighting design by Jon Clark, composition by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, sound design by George Dennis, movement direction by Sarah Golding and Yukiko Masui (SAY), fight direction by Kate Waters, intimacy co-ordination by Ingrid Mackinnon and casting by Alastair Coomer CDG and Chloe Blake.
Press Night Images: Courtesy National Theatre and Anni Domingo:
The Effect will play in the Lyttelton theatre from 1 August, a final performance on 7 October.
Tickets are available from £20 and are on sale now via the National Theatre website. For further information, including details about assisted performance, please visit nationaltheatre.org.uk.