Don’t Rock The Boat

Words by Kairen Kemp

Discover’s Kairen Kemp experiences an intimate theatre event on the Brighton Fringe Festival.

The Rotunda is an intimate theatre space which enhances the minimalist setting of this theatre piece written by Louis Cavalier who also plays Daniel alongside his co-performer Ava Dodsworth as Alice.

The play begins when Daniel reluctantly finds himself in a rehabilitation centre and a voice starts speaking to him through the wall. This voice turns out to be that of another patient, Alice, and the pair are understandably distrustful of one another to begin with but eventually strike up an unlikely friendship as they bond over their shared treatment.

The pair never actually see one another face to face since they’re on the border of two different wards and building below their banter is a critical difference in attitude towards their treatment. Daniel is clearly lacking faith since he feels he is being treated like a child, a stark reminder of when he was dismissed from conversations regarding his parents’ divorce in his early teens, which is the very reason he started drinking. Whilst on the other hand, Alice follows the 12 steps religiously and is more than happy to surrender herself to the cause since she has always struggled to function in the outside world and often felt aimless so being at the centre gives her a sense of belonging to the point where she doesn’t want to leave.

With the audience being so physically close to the performers means that they have to be totally committed to their performance. Cavalier and Dodsworth achieve this well and you become pulled into the space with them.

My only criticism is that I wanted the performance to be longer in order that their stories could be more deeply explored, particularly that of Alice. We want to know more of her story and how it has brought her there.

Above all this was a surprising  and innovative piece of theatre written with such skill by such a young playwright in Louis Cavalier and performed hypnotically by him and Ava Dodsworth in an intimate space where there was nowhere to hide from their audience. Their youth defied the subject matter which more mature actors may have struggled making believable.

Both are certainly set for greater things so keep an eye out for them in the future and for this play which will surely be transferring elsewhere over the next year or so.

IG: @dontrocktheboatplay

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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