Review Roundup: THE EFFECT Opens At The Shed

The Effect plays for a strictly limited four-week run in The Shed’s Griffin Theater, March 3 – 31, 2024.

By: Mar. 13, 2024
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Review Roundup: THE EFFECT Opens At The Shed
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The exclusive U.S. presentation of a new production of The Effect, the acclaimed play examining love and ethics by Lucy Prebble and directed by Jamie Lloyd opens tonight!

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The Effect features Paapa Essiedu as “Tristan” and Taylor Russell as “Connie”, participants in a clinical drug trial who begin an illicit romance, alongside Michele Austin as “Dr. Lorna James” and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as “Dr. Toby Sealey”.

As Connie and Tristan explore their attraction to each other, how can they be sure it’s the real thing and not an exhilarating side effect of the new antidepressant they’re taking? The supervising doctors begin to ask themselves questions too: where do they draw the line between love and ethics? 

The creative team includes set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, lighting design by Jon Clark, composition by Michael “Mikey J” Asante, sound design by George Dennis, movement direction by Sarah Golding and Yukiko Masui (SAY), fight direction by Kate Waters, intimacy coordination by Ingrid Mackinnon, and casting by Alastair Coomer CDG.

Review Roundup: THE EFFECT Opens At The Shed Frank Scheck, New York Stage Review: Lloyd only emphasizes the play’s weaknesses with his sterile production that makes you feel like you’re observing lab rats from a distance. The actors’ voices are loudly amplified, making even their most intimate dialogue sound ring announcements at a boxing match. The sound and lighting effects, including portions of the stage floor lighting up strategically, are so emphatic that you expect a white-suited John Travolta to strut onto the stage and dance. You get the feeling that if the director had his way, he’d be wiring up audience members with sensors to gauge their reactions.

Review Roundup: THE EFFECT Opens At The Shed Jonathan Mandell, New York Theater: A regular laboratory for clinical trials is itself an artificial setting, as is the relationship between researcher and subject, so perhaps there’s an analogy at work here that explains the brutally artificial staging. The stage pictures can certainly be arresting. But it’s a conceptual imposition, which paradoxically keeps intellectual engagement secondary, at best. Director Jamie Lloyd’s last gig in New York, last year’s production of “A Doll’s House” on Broadway starring Jessica Chastain, was also devoid of props and of a realistic set, and also imposed a heavy-handed directorial conceit: The actors rarely stood up from their chairs. Lloyd clearly has a preferred aesthetic – call it minimalist chic – which others have praised as removing distractions so that the audience can focus on what matters. But what matters in a play? Is it only the theatrical effect?

Average Rating: 45.0%

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