Hide and Seek
Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: Park Theatre, London
Cast: Loris Scarpa and Nico Cetrulo

Hide and Seek is a moving and darkly entertaining play that pits two teenage boys against each other in the face of the contagious prejudice of their small Italian town. Gio, who has never felt accepted by anyone - not by parents, teachers or peers - decides to disappear and hide out in a secluded cave. When his popular classmate Mirko discovers him, Gio enlists him as an accomplice, convincing him to preserve his secret despite the media frenzy over his disappearance. The boys embark on an unexpected journey towards self-discovery and acceptance, setting in motion a series of dramatic consequences. 
Hide and Seek, winner of the 2019 Mario Fratti Award, is back on the British stage for the second time. 

The show is a representation of the fact that even though society has been brought closer due to social media, it has also torn us farther apart. It is disturbing, powerful, and an unfortunate representation of how society still needs to change. 

Park90 is an intimate space, with only three rows of seats surrounding three sides of the stage. It sets the atmosphere perfectly, as the show takes place in a small cave. Set designer, Constance Comparot emphasised the intimate space with a minimal design; just the littering of trash and survival supplies. The minimal lighting that designer Alex Forey used with the fairy lights and a few overhead lights added to the claustrophobic feeling. It felt as though the audience was right there in the cave with the actors, and I don’t think this show would have the same impact if it was in a bigger theatre. 

The show takes off immediately. Mirko (Nico Cetrulo) accidentally discovers the missing Gio (Loris Scarpa) in an abandoned cave. From there, a tentative alliance is formed: Mirko will keep Gio’s secret in exchange for fame from finding a “clue” that will lead the detectives to find Gio. But as the two delve further into their ruse, things begin to take a dark and unpredictable turn. I was on the edge of my seat the entire show. Each scene brought a new twist that raised the stakes. There was not a single moment where I knew what was happening in the next. 

This show only had two actors, and they bounced off of each other effortlessly in each scene. Loris Scarpa was a standout, greatly balancing Gio’s naturally awkward nature while he worked through the trauma that had plagued him since he was a child. Nico Cetrulo was a fun comic relief; quirky and uncomfortable with his predicament. Together, the pair seamlessly transition from two unlikely friends to partners in creating the perfect crime. These two were incredible to watch. They had me laughing at their silly, teenage banter, and when the show began to take a disturbing turn, they had me hanging on to their every word. 

Shows that are set in modern times have a special effect on the audience, and even though I didn’t know anything about the Italian aspects, I still connected to it through the discussions of social media. Hide and Seek takes place in a small town, and even though social media is a societal norm, they still have an outdated way of thinking. This play is a symbol of how homophobia, both internalised and externalised, is still an ugly part of our society, no matter how far we have come. 

Hide and Seek was an incredibly thought-provoking show that left the audience speechless. Carlotta Brentan did a fantastic job taking Tobia Rossi’s script, originally written in Italian, and transforming it in a way that British audiences could understand while still remaining true to its roots. No spoilers here, but the ending had me gasping aloud with my hand covering my mouth. Hide and Seek is a show that will stick with me for a long time. 

Hide and Seek only runs until 30 March 2024, so get your tickets now! 

You can book tickets to see Hide and Seek at Park Theatre, London, here.

Review by Becca

**photo credit to Mariano Gobbi**

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