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This play experiments with ‘love drugs’

In the Pangdemonium play 'The Effect', two characters are given ‘love drugs’ and put in a room together – alone – as part of a social experiment. We speak to them to find out what happens after

Nikki Muller (left) and Linden Furnell (right)

Linden Furnell plays Tristan

His character is 'a “light” kinda guy in every sense. He’s light on his feet, doesn’t overthink things and has a very sunny disposition. He’s probably not had the easiest upbringing, and is in some ways a disappointment to his family, maybe even to himself. It explains his temperament.'

Nikki Muller plays Connie

Her character is 'a psychology student who’s very interested in the study of the human brain. She has a fire to her and isn’t afraid to speak her mind – but she can also be emotionally guarded. Everything has a cause and effect in her mind, to the point where even love can be clinical.'

'It’s brilliantly written; these scenes have such an intensity. I love that it asks a lot of tough questions. It’s also very witty, sexy and fun!'

On The Effect

Linden Furnell: I’m familiar with [the playwright] Lucy Prebble’s earlier work and am so impressed with the authenticity of her characters. She’s all about the subtlety of relationships, but she also touches on questions of ethics. I loved The Effect immediately.

Nikki Muller: Adrian [Pang, co-artistic director of Pangdemonium] sent me the script and I read it in one sitting. It’s brilliantly written; these scenes have such an intensity. I love that it asks a lot of tough questions. It’s also very witty, sexy and fun!

On 'social experiments'

LF: Adults who volunteer are different from animals that don’t consent, so I have no problem. But I don’t think a social experiment in a lab does justice to the complexity of the real world – which is one of the points the play touches on.

NM: There are risks involved. If you believe in the advancement of science then it’s certainly worth the risk. I would personally never do it, though. I’m rather old-fashioned and believe in meditation, counselling and reiki as forms of healing.

Lessons learnt from the play

LF: All the rationality in the world might not help you when you fall for someone.

NM: It’s taught me to live in the moment. But on the subject of neurological science, I’ve learnt that there’s a real demand for these drugs.

'Love' in one sentence

LF: It’s the only thing that makes life worthwhile.

NM: It is the fuel that allows us to truly see this world in detail.

Most romantic thing you've done

LF: I write plenty of songs about past loves – does that count?

NM: Surprising someone with a trip and not revealing the destination until we reached the airport. There’s nothing more romantic than creating memories together.

Valentine's Day plans

LF: Probably drinking whisky and playing board games.

NM: It depends on whether someone invites me to spend it with them [laughs]. I haven’t organised anything, but I’m sure the universe has a plan for me.