The play received the UK Critics Circle award as best new play, and its new American production in NYC remains thought provoking. Successfully combining the improbably related themes of medicine, love and morality, The Effect centers on a couple who volunteer for a test of an innovative anti-depressant drug. Susannah Flood and Carter Hudson play the star crossed (or is it drug crossed?) lovers. George Demas is the doctor directing the drug trial on behalf of the pharmaceutical company. His prior relationship with the doctor administering the trial (Kati Brazda) brings into question the efficacy of using double blind standards in such trials.
Lucy Prebble’s script and David Cromer’s direction are a powerful combination. As the drug dosages increase, the lovers’ ardor increases. Prohibited from such intimacy, the couple’s emotions boil. In tandem, the doctors’ history is revealed. Complications among the four are handled deftly.
The scenic design by Marsha Ginsberg evokes a well-heeled facility, down to the details of the red power outlets on the wall.
This is the first collaboration among England’s National Theatre, Barrow Street Theatre and Jean Doumanian Productions (the latter also famous for numerous Woody Allen films).
The intimate setting of the Barrow Street Theatre is ideal for this production, making it one of the hottest Off Broadway tickets of the season.