'Secreting' Review: ★★★★

Performance Review

Underage drinking, relationship problems, and the volatility of high school social life are convincingly displayed in Maya Marie's new play.

Oscar Merlin Griffin

Secreting (or is it Secreting?) sets out a teenage house party. Underage drinking, relationship problems, and the volatility of high school social life are displayed in a series of duologues in this new student-written play by Maya Marie.

Secreting promises to prioritise queer narratives, with our leading gay couple throwing a party to announce their status as a couple. Ah, the things that mattered to us in high school. Our host, Toby (Noah Hammond) appears throughout the play as a distressed victim of peer pressure, while his popular boyfriend (Rob Monteiro) is entertainingly dramatic, but verges on bullying him. Imogen Carter is convincingly immature as Jenny, the younger sister tagging along for the cool kids’ party, while her older sibling Lex (Luna Jarvis) is the charming but destructive agent of chaos at the party.

All the couples’ duologues are deliciously fraught with tension. The power struggle between Henry (Jake Leigh) and Becca (Louisa Grinyer), and Max (Macsen Llewelyn) and Annie (Louisa Grinyer again), and finally the unexpected pairing of Lex and Millie (Betty Blythe). The boys (men?) in the straight couples both morph from comedic teenage boys into threatening angry men, serving as a reminder of the space inhabited at this age, where rash irresponsibility crosses into active harm. As a show with an all-female production team, this exploration of gendered dynamics in the setting of high school politics is done well and sympathetically, but still leaves a sinister aftertaste.

All the actors embody their characters well, and while sometimes the acting is more over-the-top than naturalistic, this fits well with the high drama of underage drinkers. The show spans the time course of the party, finishing on a hopeful note as the sun rises, allowing the audience to snoop on the characters’ journeys throughout the night. The set, lighting, and intimate seating all lend themselves to the crowded atmosphere, and allow the audience to sit in as co- conspirators to the morally dubious actions of the characters.

The dialogue and characterisation is well done and convincing, as Marie accurately reenacts the delicate ecosystem of a teenage house party, and reflects the priorities and anxieties relatable to anyone who attended awful parties in their teens. I for one am excited to see what Marie will write next.


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