THEATRE – The Effect – UATG – Little Theatre – 4K



By Peter Maddern

A quick scour of old and new media reveals there are nearly unlimited opportunities to sign up as human guinea pigs for clinical trials of new medicines and approaches, all for the allure of $50 or similar. Advances in medicine require it and as consumers we are protected from snake oil salespeople by the quality of this work. (In this regard, think of the ‘claims’ made by Suisse Pharmaceuticals.)

Lucy Prebble’s The Effect takes a look at this world, challenging her audiences with a topic that requires some cerebral effort. It is Megan Dansie’s direction that makes this production enjoyable both for its performances and its tone.

Connie (Bronwyn Palmer) and Tristan (David Salter) are two volunteers for a new anti-depressant drug trial run by aspiring medical go-getter Toby Sealey (Gary George) and managed in the clinic by Lorna James (Cate Rogers.) But the drug seems to work better than expected, or does it, as Connie and Tristan use their isolation from the rest of the world to get frisky.

Both the multi-talented Palmer and the versatile Slater excel in their roles as, respectively, the coy educated woman wondering about what use to put her remaining years of fertility and he the arrogant bogan for whom sanity is dictated below the belt line and not above it. Cate Rogers’ James is also successful as a torn figure, rigorous to the protocols of science but deeply sceptical of the merits of the drug trial she is conducting – her unravelling is compelling.

Dansie’s simple staging and Erik Strauts’ excellent projections keep the audience very much in a similar world James occupies – somewhere between scientific frontier and suburban drudgery. While The Effect is by no means a text book on how medical trials are actually conducted, the impacts on the participants and their various and very separate motivations keep the emotions of the audience engaged.

This is an excellent production and well worth a visit.

Kryztoff Rating    4K

Leave a Reply