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The Effect review – repeat prescription for Lucy Prebble’s love-drug drama

Jul 2nd, 2015 by

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?

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