Hide and Seek

Set inside a small cave, Gio (Loris Scarpa) has run away from his life to live in solitude. That is until someone from his school, Mirko (Nico Cetrulo), stumbles across him, and a relationship brews. But will Gio want to go back?

The two outstanding actors grew and evolved as the plot progressed from a childish game to when things became darker, and the ramifications of their actions became real. Loris Scarpa embodied the young and lovestruck Gio impressively well. The ambivalence of his decision to run away and the selfishness displayed was pure and well-contained to the realm of the cave and childish innocence.

Hide and Seek at the Park Theatre is a story of defying innocence and developing an appreciation of care.

Nico Cetrulo had the challenge of bringing the outside world into the auditorium and being the voice for everything that happens off-stage. Cetrulo develops a changing character that begins with intrigue and develops to fear and concern in a stellar performance.

Throughout the entire show, a highlight is Alex Forey's lighting. The design was cued perfectly to create the dim light of a cave as if a phone torch and then grew to use LED fairy lights. As time passed, these lights were used during scene changes, which dimly lit a montage of Gio's time alone. This was very well done and provided a great interlude between scenes.

Initially written in Italian by Tobia Rossi, this translation was completed and directed by Carlotta Brentan. It has intricate details of the original text and an impressive sense of space. The intimate nature of the Park Theatre provided an up-close look at the story. This also worked well, placing the audience directly inside Gio's cave. The space utilised an inventive set by Constance Comparot, which elevated the action. This made it easier to view in the auditorium and provided a valuable platform to create hierarchical status inside the scenes.

Comparot's design of cave walls was ingenious, with sections of rock and some exposed foundation framing, which created a display of looking beneath. Considering the underground location, this was fitting. However, it also mirrored Gio's desire to look deeper and how he was returning his life to foundations to rebuild. This subtle detail was noticed and established as a critical theme throughout the play.

Music composed by Simone Manfredini underpinned the emotional scenes, motivating Tobia Rossi's incredible writing. The score was paramount to elevating the more intimate moments and providing a cinematic experience to the scene.

As a play, the dialogue between the teens was realistic and creative. The innocence and lack of understanding of the adult world while battling very mature topics of conversation were expertly crafted. This was particularly evident when discussing the ongoing search parties for the missing Gio and how this made him feel like he was finally being seen. As someone being bullied, Gio thrived off the attention, which made him feel cared about. This created a very curious insight into the power of social media when he related this feeling to his last TikTok going viral. The ability of social platforms to provide a sense of belonging and comfort, even if fabricated, isn't monitored enough under psychology.

During the fight scenes, directed by Michael O'Donnell, this created an intimate style, which, when paired with Forey's lighting, created a beautifully horrific moment.

This production was from Zava Productions, co-produced by KIT—Kairos Italy Theatre, with Lorenzo Manelli as the associate producer. Circolo London, Sylvia Waddilove Foundation, Comites Londra, and the British Italian Society supported the show.

Hide and Seek is a modern and inventive play testament to translated works and a desire for Italian playwriting in the UK.

This show was reviewed on the 14th March 2024 at the Park Theatre, London where it runs until the 30th March 2024.  Tickets available here: Hide and Seek | Projects | Park Theatre

Review written by Ryan Lenney


Photo credit: Mariano Gobbi

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