by an anonymous guest critic
A masterclass in one-woman storytelling, Pickle Jar is delicately told in the intimate setting upstairs in Soho Theatre. Staged on a minimalist set with potted plants in various locations, the setting gives little away of what the journey is we are about to experience. This places more pressure on the performer to create the world for us, but she certainly delivers.
Though a cast of one, Maddie Rice (having previously shone in Fleabag) brings to life a multitude of characters with ease, keeping you hooked with the sheer joy she finds in her storytelling. You will find it difficult to not smile constantly, as the writing so brilliantly finds light in the everyday moments of an English Literature teacher balancing a modern lifestyle of dating, boozy nights out, STIs, housemates, work and being unhappily single. Her outrageous Irish housemate constantly makes her cringe by ordering her to ‘get herself out there’, to put an end to her prudish ways and to make advances on a fellow work colleague. This is where is starts to go downhill.
You can’t help but fall in love with her dorky ways, a character similar to the well-known Miranda. She talks about relatable themes with such honestly, and isn’t afraid to share the difficulty of being a woman in 2018. Though the play isn’t written in a linear plot, we follow Rice as she weaves and morphs into each memory – a particular highlight being the teenage girls’ “slutty” school dance routine – until eventually meeting a climatic and unexpected ending. Though laced with comedy, the play touches on subject matter that is still very relevant and important.
After a successful run in Edinburgh you can understand why it is equally making waves in London, for Maddie’s Rice’s talent as a performer is the overriding highlight of the show.
Pickle Jar runs through 10 November.
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