Maya Marie’s debut drama does what it says on the tinAmber Ash with permission for Varsity

After its Corpus Playroom run, Maya Marie’s Secreting at the Edinburgh Fringe is filled with adolescent nostalgia and vibrant characters, set to propel audiences back in time to the emotionally intense atmosphere of a teenage house party. Courtesy of director Gabriella Shennan, its particularly strong moments were characterised by brilliant pacing and staging, complimented by a script which shows talent and potential.

“It still ensures a relatable character for the teenager inside each of us”

Secreting takes the structure of a series of duologues, chronologically following the events of a teenage house party and exploring the relationships that unfold within it. While delightfully avoiding certain stereotypes, it still ensures a relatable character for the teenager inside each of us, from the anxious mum-friend Millie (Betty Blythe) to the cool and mysterious homewrecker, Lex (Luna Jarvis).

The standout moment of this play was the friction between Becca (Louisa Grinyer) and Henry (Jake Leigh), two characters who leave the house party realising their significant age gap and arguing over who’s in the wrong for pursuing the other. Shennan’s direction shines through here; the proxemics of the two characters indicate with ease the direction of the evening and the rising tension between them.

“The play’s technical feats shone”

Grinyer escapes the promiscuous “cool girl” stereotype, adding depth and intelligence to her character as she realises she has been mistaken for another girl. Instead, she plays with the patriarchal dynamic, leaving Leigh’s character suitably powerless and insecure. Maya Marie’s script was particularly strong at this point, with its feminist, almost Promising Young Woman exploration of sexual relationships.

A further point of success was the show’s technical elements. The set, scattered with suitably adolescent alcohol, plus a crate of the parents’ untouchable alcohol, hit the nail on the head. From disco lighting to a gradual orange hue for the sunrise, lighting was also cleverly utilised to reflect different settings. The efficient and interactive use of sound complimented this, with actors turning the ‘speakers’ down on stage accordingly, and the play’s technical feats shone under the management of Marie, Shennan and producer Amber Ash.

“It leaves audience members sufficiently nostalgic”

Some moments felt a little over-dramatic, or perhaps my teenage house party experiences were just a tad lame. Jonah (Rob Monteiro), the heartthrob of the party, only made an audience sympathetic to anyone who had the misfortune of interacting with him. Monteiro’s portrayal of Jonah was rage-filled and manipulative, and failed to convincingly match the energy of his boyfriend, Toby (Noah Hammond), who was far more anxious. Lacking any moment of affection between these two, the play leaves audiences without empathy for this teenage relationship, removing the intended stakes of the party. Similarly, Grinyer’s re-entrance in the finale with makeup streaming down her face is confusingly inconsistent with the duologue’s ending, where Becca triumphs over Henry’s advances.


Mountain View

Secreting's revelations of a night

Secreting has some poignant moments of real potential, and shines a light on teenage explorations of self-image and social standing. It leaves audience members sufficiently nostalgic for moments where perhaps we also over-indulged in WKD or pined after the heartthrob of a party.

While its structure as a series of duologues allow moments of real clarity and drama, as between Becca and Henry, relationships like Jonah and Toby’s still remain insufficiently explained. Perhaps as a longer piece, Secreting would reflect the epitome of the adolescent experience. However, with limited time in a Fringe slot, Maya Marie’s debut drama does what it says on the tin - you will be left nostalgic, entertained and ultimately satisfied.