Louis Cavalier’s short two-hander Don’t Rock The Boat feels like a work in progress at the Golden Goose Theatre
“How long have you got left”
Daniel and Alice are both in rehab. But though they’re in adjoining rooms, they never see each other as they’re at different stages in their journey, being treated in different wards, sharing in different groups. But every night once they’re done, they return to their quasi-shared space and through this enforced proximity, a friendship of sorts starts to grow.
At barely 40 minutes long, Don’t Rock The Boat is Oxford School of Drama graduate Louis Cavalier’s second play but it feels more like a sketch, a work in progress directed here by Noah McCreadie. There’s a wealth of interesting issues touched on, particularly around differing attitudes towards and strategies for recovery, but inevitably there isn’t the room to delve deep into them.
Cavalier’s Daniel is newly arrived and is resisting the process, kinda feeling like he’s in “a primary school for alcoholics”. Ava Dodsworth’s Alice is much further along the programme and has fully drunk the Kool-Aid. And through the wall that they share for three weeks or so, short bursts of interactions set out their positions for the jokes, debates and arguments that grow in significance.
It’s a format that doesn’t quite work here, exacerbated by the running time but problematic on its own too. Too little room is afforded to explore character (we get Daniel’s backstory but not much is revealed about why Alice is at this rehabilitation centre) or experience (there’s little exploration or evaluation of what they’re doing) in a way that would make us feel any real empathy.