For a play where two men argue over their past lives whilst sitting in an inflatable boat, Rubber Dinghy, written by Kelvin Fawdrey and directed by Ben Cohen, packs a surprisingly remarkable punch.
For a start, it only runs at half an hour long. I probably shouldn’t admit to this but the show’s length is half the reason I like it so much. Short plays often have a tendency not to reveal enough of their characters, or not to give suitably satisfactory endings, simply because of the time frame. However, Fawdrey’s witty and intelligent script trims all the fat, trusts it’s audience’s intelligence, and says exactly what it needs to say in 30 minutes, what many a student play has said in 60.
Ben Cohen is an audacious and confident director. It’s a gamble having a random musician sitting on stage in full sub fusc, banging drums, splashing water and playing various bizarre looking instruments into a microphone to recreate the sea and other sound effects, but it works perfectly. Equally as effective is the juxtaposition between the natural lighting of most scenes, and then the sudden washes of deep colour; a rich blue when the Siren appears and a menacing red when a flare gun is shot in the final scenes. It all adds to the really quite unsettling disjointed menace of the piece.
Credit must also go Edwin Price and Alexander Bowsher who both give strong central performances, as well as Eleanor Budge who has never made the song Blue Moon so evocative and chilling. The true test of a good performer on stage is whether they can say as much with silence and stilness as they do with words. These three succeed with flying colours.
All in all, I can barely fault Rubber Dinghy. Go see it. It’s a hot contender for best show of the term.