Review Wal Reid

You’d think the last place to find love would be in a medical facility, however, this is the terrain set before us as strangers Tristan and Connie ponder the meaning of life & love as they meet for the first time as guinea pigs for a drugs testing trial.

Mental health is a media hot-potato and the Lucy Prebble penned The Effect doesn’t hold back as director Benjamin Henson goes for the jugular. Its a brilliant psychological love story, that can be best described as ‘Romeo & Juliet on Thorazine’.

“Wine drinking, chino wearing c**t” we find doesn’t necessarily apply to disgraced MP Todd Barclay as actor Daniel Watterson plays traveller Tristan Frey, a stoic role that pulls one of the best lines together with a convincing Irish accent that would get the thumbs up from Bono.

His opposite Jessie Lawrence as ‘bored’ millennial Connie Hall from Titirangi is expressive, her eyes as big as saucers as she explores the chemistry between her & the often polemic Tristan.

Their relationship is more than convincing, their interaction tangible as they weave the story for the audience watching in their wake.

The lucid lighting and strobe effects combined with dramatic soundtrack transports the audience into its enclosed vortex, lifting the borders from the stage to engulf the crowd – the unique stage design and use of monitor screens are used to good effect.

Familiar face from TV Will Wallace is great as the smug but amiable lickspittle Dr Toby Sealy, his interaction with actor Sheena Irving is solid, she plays psychiatrist Dr Lorna James, her monologue and character is at times sombre but emotional.

Its longer than Dunkirk and like director Christopher Nolan’s epic feature holds it own.

The Effect’s charm lies in its actors who really make the show, its intelligent script & sparse but hard-hitting stage effects pivotal to its success.

A harrowing and enjoyable show that will leave you with more than the word ‘dopamine’ on the tip of your tongue