string(9) "cambridge"

Review: Secreting

This play will make you nostalgic for the chaotic teenage house party you never wished to go to again


Do you remember the feeling you’d get before a house party when you were sixteen years old? Anticipation, anxiety, a feeling that somehow everything matters? Get ready to have all those feelings brought back with Maya Marie‘s uncannily accurate reconstruction of the intimate conversations that go on in the corners of a teenage party. You’ll feel as if you really are sixteen and experiencing it all again.

Francesca Lees as Max and Imogen Carter as Jenny [Image credits: Maya Marie]

With the direction of Gabriella Shennan, assisted by Maya Calcraft and Maya Marie, the cast is transformed into characters comparable to those you might have met in your own life. There’s the nervous party host, the confused couple, the little sister excited to be hanging out with her sister’s older “cooler” friends and more. But, despite these seemingly generic roles, what is created from them is something much more nuanced. There is a captured essence of what it really feels like to enter into the once mysterious realm of the house party. Every emotion expressed is something the audience is made to feel as if it were their own. On top of all this, it’s funny too.

The play begins with Noah Hammond and Rob Monteiro‘s portrayal of two boys at the beginning of a relationship, arguing over their expectations for the party. Peer pressure, persuasion, tension, apprehension, expectation – these are among only some of the themes explored in this dialogue. It did not take more than a few minutes before I was hooked.

Noah Hammond as Toby and Rob Monteiro as Jonah [Image credits: Jessie Wade]

When a sound was played to indicate the presence of guests arriving, I felt butterflies in my stomach. Watching the cast congregate in groups across the stage, their body language and positioning could not have looked more natural. With a bottle of Smirnoff vodka and cheap cloudy lemonade on the table, I might have been looking at a real teenage party.

My favourite performance was Lillian Jones‘ portrayal of Becca, an emotionally complex teenage girl who has disappeared into the woods with Henry, a man who is a few years older. A dialogue ensues that is confusing for both the characters and the audience, but it is in its confusing, surprising nature that it achieves such nuance. Lillian captures the complexity and changeable nature of Becca’s personality. Jake Leigh‘s portrayal of Henry is impressive too, capturing the slightly over-sensitive, insecure and perhaps short-tempered elements of his character. With the help of Intimacy Coordinator, Sara Sioufi, the interesting dynamic between the two characters is brought to life.

It was a very short play and the jury is out about whether this is a good thing. I spoke to someone who said that it ended as soon as they started to get into it but, though I would have been more than happy to watch more, from an artistic viewpoint I think it ended where it was meant to. The play does not aim to contain more than a night’s worth of conversations, so it makes sense that it ends when the sun rises and the party is definitively over.

Luna Jarvis as Lex and Alice Roberts as Millie [Image credits: Jessie Wade]

The play’s success was clearly a group effort, with the cast, directors, team and producer Amber Ash all doing an amazing job. If you want to walk home filled with nostalgia as I have done, grab yourself a ticket.

4.5/5

Secreting is showing from the 10th to 13th of May at the Corpus Playroom at 9:30 pm. Book your tickets here.