The Effect

A difficult and touching exploration of the rarest thing. The dearest thing: the tiny spark that binds two hearts.

If you love someone, does it matter why?

Two volunteers on a drug trial begin to develop some strange attractions in Lucy Prebble’s love-sceptical play. THE EFFECT takes on the subject of antidepressants, their importance, our need for them and the consequences of chemical design; all examined via the taut gauntlet of ahuman drug-trial. Complete, of course, with the Docs and the Lab Rats – in this case, patients Connie and Tristan.

We know little about them all before the trial, and they even less about each other. But it’s clear that a spark has ignited between them – is it the drugs? Or their own personal chemistry? And how could either of them tell the difference, if we are all just a skin-bag of electricity and chemicals to begin with?

Form and Style

The play takes place in a live-in facility which the 2 subjects of the trial are not allowed to leave. So you see the bedrooms that they are confined to as well as the clinical space where they interact with their the doctors. It is a clinical setting, sparse and slightly dehumanising.

It is a straight drama, underscored with music by Anna Sarcich who plays the cello live on stage. This adds depth and emotion to the piece.

Community Engagement

Fremantle Theatre Company will engage with Presenters to design an activity suitable for their audiences.

Avenues into this are around the topic of love – what are the things that trigger attraction? Visual, auditory, smell – what made you first notice your partner (current or previous). Was it their laugh, their smell, the way they walked – how does the brain process this information?

Another avenue is the desire of humans to control emotions through the ingestion of substances – how does this distort reality and does that distortion last? How much does it influence your relationships?

REVIEWS for ‘the effect’ by lucy prebble

“An astonishingly rich and rewarding play, as intelligent as it is deeply felt.” – Daily Telegraph (UK)

“There’s no shortage of things to think about in British playwright Lucy Prebble’s The Effect. By interval, your mind is buzzing.” – Sydney Morning Herald

The Effect won the 2012 UK Critic’s Circle Award for Best New Play.

“… This is a provocative and challenging play … it ends in edgy gesture of good sense that made me feel like cheering.” – Paul Taylor from The Independent

“A knotty drama, dealing with scientific objectivity, guilt, the mysteries of the human heart and brain and what makes us who we are, wrapped up in adeceptively simple and constantly entertaining package.” – Guardian (UK).

“…smashing…plays like a thriller…The story keeps unwinding in fascinating, organic directions…What started as a clean and narrowly defined ‘situation’ play by the end leaves you feeling you have experienced a hefty chunk of human possibility and despair.” -NY Magazine.

“…searing…Prebble’s script is full of memorable moments and characters that stab at the heart of western society’s troubling relationship with prescription drugs…[a] brutal takedown of medicine in a capitalist context…Brimming with challenging insight, THE EFFECT is sure to cause some heated post-show discussions…” –

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Pippa Grandison

Dr Lorna James: Carla Bonner
Dr Toby Sealey: Oliver Wenn
Connie: Caitlin Ashley Thompson
Tristan: Adam Sollis

Composer, Arranger, Sound Design and Performer: Anna Sarcich
Intimacy Director: Steph Power
Designer: Renato Fabretti
Lighting Designer: Matthew Erren
Projection Design: VJ-Zoo
Producer: Pippa Davis


1 April 2024




Fans of the HBO series Succession and Lucy Prebble's previous works; people are interested in mental health, depression and the use of antidepressants.


90 Minutes

Bump In

4 Hours with pre-rig

Bump Out

2 Hours


Weekly Fee: $11,500.00
Royalties: 16%

Company Contacts

Contact Name: Pippa Davis

Tell me more


Venue Format

Suits Proscenium Arch or Black Box theatres

Touring Party



Maximum performances a week: 4

Does this show require a remount? Yes

First Possible Performance: 2 Hours after Bump-In

Minimum Break Between Shows: 2 Hours

Minimum stage dimensions:  8 metres wide x 6 metres deep

Staging and Set Description: Set will be on a bare stage – beds, tables, chairs , floor rugs. There is an AV component that can be projected directly onto a wall in a black box scenario or onto a screen in a proscenium arch view.

Lighting requirements:

  • Elation Fuze Wash Z350 @380W x 1
  • GLP Impression FR1 @85W 8
  • TourPro Aurora V6 @ 700W x 2
  • Selecon Acclaim Flood @ 330/500W x 8
  • Showpro LED Profile 132 @ 250W x 1
  • Event Lighting ProPar RGBWAU @ 120W x 1.
  • USITT PAR64MFL @ 1Kw x 7
  • Unique Hazer @ 900W x 1 OR SIMILAR

Audio requirements:

Playback system for sound effects through CueLab.
Cello is played without amplification – if in a really big room it may need to be mic’d.

Other technical or performance notes:

Projector: front projection 6000 lumens – can be done with less depending on throw