Don't Rock The Boat explores the idea of addiction recovery through the eyes of Daniel and Alice. Both sharing exactly the same journey in the same rehabilitation centre, but never seeing each other due to being on different wards. But also never always seeing eye to eye on how recovery should be.
A heart warming - if at times harsh - relationship
Using a simple minimalist Brechtian set of masking tape on the floor, marking out Daniel and Alice's rooms and a stool with some books and a tiny golden pair of scales that become a crack in the wall between the two rooms when turned round; what we see is the beginning journey of an insightful and powerful piece of theatre. Add to that the strong talents of Director Noah McCreadie, Louis Cavallier (Daniel and the writer of Don't Rock The Boat) and Ava Dodsworth (Alice) and you have a heart warming - if at times harsh - relationship that helps us get an insight into the backgrounds of how they ended up here together.
Daniel has a journey that involves using alcohol as a means of escapism after his parents divorced in his teens. Cavallier seems at the beginning of the play to be a little detached from his character. However, as everything develops, we along with Cavallier begin to feel a connection to his reality. It soon becomes clear that that detachment is part of the escapism he craves. He has no faith in the system after feeling left behind. But emotionally he matures and gives a sturdy performance as he comes to terms with his actions through music and yoga therapy in particular despite his weaning-off symptoms trying to bring him down again.
Alice however is a highlight of Don't Rock The Boat as a whole. For her, she believes in the recovery programme to the extent that maybe, without her realising it, she is hiding behind the truth that she was uncomfortable with going out into the world again. Dodsworth's performance is full to the brim of at times false positivity as she covers her anxiety, sharp comedic moments as she calls Daniel's reluctance out and intense emotions as she taps into the awful relationship she has with her father.
Under McCreadie's direction, Cavallier and Dodworth are stars in the making and Don't Rock The Boat showcases them well. But a huge part of me wonders what would happen if it was made longer...it seems too short and leaves us asking what would happen if they ever did meet up in the real world? What uncovered emotions might be revealed if the two characters were cast as older actors? And how interesting would it be to see if they met up years later without realising it? Either way, this show has the strong potential to get even more powerful than it is now with some of the already suggested tweaks. Well worth watching if you however prefer a short burst of thirty-five minutes worth of theatre rather than the standard hour you see on the fringe circuit.