Exploring the greatest new and classic plays


The Effect

by Lucy Prebble

Directed by Jamie Lloyd

National Theatre, London

September 2023

Paapa Essiedu and Taylor Russell
in The Effect.
Photo by Marc Brenner

Lucy Prebble’s play The Effect was first produced in 2012 in the Cottesloe Theatre at the National Theatre. It is now being revived in a new production with a revised text in the larger Lyttelton space, directed by Jamie Lloyd and starring Paapa Essiedu and Taylor Russell.

The play charts the effects on two young people who participate in a residential drug trial, during the course of which they are given escalating doses of a new anti-depressant. The two fall in love, but they are unsure whether they can trust that their feelings are real. All of this is orchestrated and observed by two doctors, who are trying to assess how much their increasingly intense behaviour can be attributed to the effect of the drug.

Jamie Lloyd’s work as a director is not to everyone’s taste – so what did Jodi and I make of his version of this very thought-provoking play?

The Effect is running in the Lyttelton Theatre at the National Theatre until 7th October.



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