By Lucy Prebble. A Firebrand Theatre review.
TO STUDY animals, we can use a laboratory. To study humans, we can go to a play. This is not always obvious. But with the institutional grey fittings and antiseptic blue lighting of Ken Harrison’s set, it’s very apparent in Lucy Prebble’s The Effect. The setting is a drugs-trial unit at Rauschen Pharmaceuticals, where volunteers are taking an experimental antidepressant called RLU37. A psychiatrist is tracking their behaviour, but we in the audience are the ones really keeping watch.
WHEN civilisation finally catches up with Shakespeare’s Prospero and Miranda in The Tempest, there’s the assumption that they’ll leave their island behind. This magic and wildness is all very well, but it’s no match for society. Heading back to Italy, with all its order and discipline, is taken as read. There’s a similar conflict between the tame and the wild in David Greig’s Outlying Islands. First seen in 2002 and now revived by director Richard Baron in a quietly absorbing production for the Borders-based Firebrand company, it begins with two young men from the ministry showing up on an Outer Hebridean rock.
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