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Hide and Seek | Park Theatre

A day in autumn. A small village in Italy. A mysterious cave in the lurking shadows of the forest is juxtaposed with a socially anxious teenager Gio who decides to take isolation to the literal level, disappearing from his family, friends and a life of exclusion. That is, until his popular schoolmate Mirko discovers his hiding place by chance, sparking a slow-warming relationship between the two.

Following its British premiere in 2023 at the VAULT Festival (which sadly announced its closure last week due to the lack of funding), Hide and Seek is penned by Italian playwright Tobia Rossi, with its English language version brought to the stage by translator and director Carlotta Brentan. The cast includes just two actors, but the play is nevertheless mysteriously intense - especially with Rossi's lingering pacing effectively building tension, exploring the darker themes from limited perspectives of each character and steadily foreshadowing some of the consequences the boys face along their innocent journeys of self discovery.

Played against Constance Comparot's minimalistic set utilising limestone-like textures that naturally embeds themselves into the intimate setting of Park90 (the smaller of two performance spaces at the Park Theatre), the show, almost in alinement with its plot, is trapped within the single setting of the dark cave, disconnected to the outside world and making the only means of communication through Mirko's regular secret visits.

From the moment the two encounter each other by chance, Rossi's skilful encapsulation of both boys slowly coming out of their shells is infused with moments of increasingly disturbing yet effective physical theatre (directed by Michael O'Donnell) and Simone Manfredini's fast-moving underscoring towards the more climactic points in the story.

But the standout performances fittingly belong to Loris Scarpa and Nico Cetrulo in the roles of Gio and Mirko; the former wins the audience over as a geeky teenager longing for love and acceptance, while the latter, though initially hesitant to interact with Gio, slowly bonds over this unique relationship that halts when something darker happens. Both desperate for attention in their own ways, the boys’ relationship blossoms in a tender, unfiltered exploration of love and adolescence sexuality; but in a tragic conclusion that catches some off-guard, the bare consequences of social media's underrated influence on cyberbullying is ruthlessly exposed, culminating in an unfortunate, spontaneous decision.

Sadly a testament to the relevance of discrimination and bullying, Hide and Seek is an important voice that speaks to many's personal experiences and, a powerfully profound voice that might just leave some shedding a few tears on the way home.

Hide and Seek, presented by ZAVA productions in association with Lorenzo Mannelli and Park Theatre, is at the Park Theatre until 30th March. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Mariano Gobbi


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