Don’t Rock the Boat, Golden Goose Theatre

by Luisa De la Concha Montes

Written by Louis Cavalier and directed by Noah Mccredie, this a new play that presents the nuances of alcoholism recovery through dialogue. The play starts with Daniel (Louis Cavalier), who reluctantly joins a rehabilitation centre. In the room next door, Alice (Ava Dodsworth) hears his rambles and eventually decides to engage with him, starting a daily interaction that fluctuates between tension and empathy.

The stage design is almost null. Alice and Daniel’s rooms are divided by an invisible wall marked by tape on the floor, and the only props are a table with books on it, and a scale that serves as a hole in the wall through which they send each other small objects. This decision ensures that the audience’s focus is wholly placed on the dialogue and interactions between Alice and Daniel. Moreover, the invisible wall is a creative way to explore the tension between their opposing personalities, as it implies that they cannot see each other, but it allows the audience to see their reactions to what the other is saying in real time.

The tension between them evolves in clear-cut stages; each scene is divided by a clock bell noise, which, despite the technical issues, manages to show the passing of the days. There is enough substance in the dialogue to create an overview of who the characters were before they came to the rehab centre. For instance, in one scene Alice tells Daniel her anxiety about her dad coming to visit. In the following scene, they discuss how the meeting went. Therefore, without showing the dad himself, Alice’s exploration of both events through her body language – which shows her physical anxiety, effectively creates a picture of her outside world without bringing it in.

As the days pass, Daniel and Alice create a bond that allows them to explore their mistakes, slowly reaching a point of acceptance that is key to both their recoveries. Don’t Rock the Boat is a hopeful story that sensibly depicts the vulnerability of alcoholism. Through the exploration of Alice and Daniel, who despite the differences in their attitude are united by the same issue, the script shows alcoholism beyond Hollywood-like depictions, and instead presents the day-to-day reality of their struggle.

In a context where over half a million people in the UK suffer from some form of alcoholism, this play is refreshing as it depicts recovery as a possible path, whilst allowing us to laugh and feel tenderness for Alice and Daniel. Louis Cavalier is a promising young writer that is worth keeping an eye on.

Don’t Rock the Boat ran through 11 May.

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