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The Effect, by Lucy Prebble [Auckland Theatre Company]


  • Wed 8 May 2024, 7:00pm–9:20pm
  • Thu 9 May 2024, 7:00pm–9:20pm
  • Fri 10 May 2024, 7:00pm–9:20pm
  • Sat 11 May 2024, 2:00pm–4:20pm
  • Sat 11 May 2024, 8:00pm–10:20pm

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All Ages


A sizzling chemistry lesson from Succession’s writer, Lucy Prebble, on whether love sits in the heart or in the brain.

“I’ll tell you what I want. I don’t want to reason with you. I want to know right now, in this moment, what you feel.”

When Connie and Tristan sign up for a clinical trial to test a new antidepressant, they fall for each other. Hard. Sealed off from the outside world, they’re ready to break all the rules. But are their feelings real or nothing more than a side effect from the drug that’s firing a dopamine hit to their brains?

British playwright Lucy Prebble shows all the razor-sharp flair that made her a star writer on the smash hit Succession in this deft dissection of medical ethics and the nature of human attraction – fresh from a critically acclaimed 2023 season at London’s National Theatre.

As the couple’s illicit romance throws the trial off course, tensions flare between the two supervising psychiatrists, who turn out to have a messy history of their own.

And, as both the dosage of the drug and the emotional stakes increase, a wider debate plays out on the medicalisation of depression for profit by the pharmaceutical industry. “There’s no such thing as side effects. They’re just effects you can’t sell.”

A provocative delve into the mysteries of human attraction, this chemical romance keeps you guessing as it asks which is more powerful – the head or the heart?

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