Sheffield Crucible studio
Prebble’s funny and heartbreaking play about a clinical trial for a new antidepressant – which might be ‘a Viagra for the heart’ – is cannily revived
Under artistic director Daniel Evans, the Crucible has cannily picked up interesting new plays staged elsewhere, giving Yorkshire audiences a chance to see them at their best. The latest is Lucy Prebble’s 2012 National Theatre hit, a challenging, funny and heartbreaking play set during a clinical trial of a new unlicensed antidepressant on paid volunteers who are not depressed.
Connie (Ophelia Lovibond) and Tristan (Henry Pettigrew) are two of the guinea pigs under the supervision of the depression-prone Dr Lorna James (Priyanga Burford), who, unlike the suave Toby (Stuart Bunce), the trial director and her former lover, doesn’t believe that depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain that can be cured by pills. Maybe, Lorna believes, depressed people just have a more accurate view of the world and themselves and the things life dumps on them?