Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

"Is Love Always Real?"

The Effect

The Other Room , The Other Room at Porters – , April-27-18
The Effect by The Other Room How much do we control our emotions as individuals? How much of our actions and thoughts are influenced by external forces and drugs?

These are some of the questions raised by Lucy Prebble’s “The Effect” currently playing at The Other Room at Porters. This play was initially staged at The National Theatre in 2012 starring Billie Piper ( amongst others) and was her first play following the great success she had with “Enron”, so you know this should be a classy affair.

As you enter the auditorium you are immediately confronted by and impressed by Carl Davies’s set. He has split the theatre in two, with seating either side of the stage, containing two beds & a bright hospital like light overhead. Here we meet Connie and Tristan, 2 patients being tested for a new pharmaceutical drug by Dr James.

Apart from being at the same place at the same time for the same purpose they have nothing in common. In fact they could hardly have been more opposite, Tristan being brash, self-confident, talkative whilst Connie was quiet, shy and introverted. Naturally, they become attached but is it natural or as a result of the drugs, or there perception of the drugs? Monitoring their progress are Dr James and Toby an eminent neurologist and gradually we discover they once had a relationship.

Unusually, for "The Other Room" this is a long play, featuring an interval. And although I am increasingly in favour of shorter plays running uninterrupted, there is so much in the play it deserves more time to develop its themes. It is a credit to the writer and director Dan Jones that although the piece is wordy with some complex issues it never drags and doesn't overstay its welcome.

Here the play is helped by an outstanding cast with Hussina Raja and Neal McWilliams as the contrasting lovers equally touching in a heart-breaking finale, the ever-watchable Nicola Reynolds and Jams Thomas producing a wonderfully naturalistic performance as Toby.

I am not always a fan of modern plays though I was glad to have attended "The Effect" and if you catch it before it ends on 12th May you will to.

Reviewed by: David Cox

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