After a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe this Summer, one woman play Pickle Jar shows at The Soho Theatre this autumn. Written and performed by talented actress Maddie Rice, this novel production is both heart-warming and hilarious.
The story centres around Miss, a charming secondary school teacher who’s determined to be an inspiration for her unruly teenage students. Daunted at their self-confidence, she still endeavours to educate them on social matters. Despite a disappointing personal life, most recently being involuntarily single, she remains desperate to keep a positive outlook, even if her situation is bleak.
A cleverly crafted storyline that suspends spectator’s curiosity throughout. Alongside the central role, Rice has written vibrantly entertaining characters who push and pull Miss in different directions. Rice personifies each role wholly with a distinct personality, physicality and accent. She navigates these frequent shifts expertly which ensures that the highly energetic pace of the production is not stalled. Particularly enjoyable are her performances as mischievous Irish housemate Mairead and stuck up school counsellor Helen.
As the story explores themes of guilt, grief and heartbreak, Rice is fuelled with emotion. At one point, when describing receiving terrible news, she holds a powerful stillness which is thrilling. At times the writing didn’t flow as well, partly due to the extreme shifts in emotion and subsequent time then needed for the audience and performer to adjust to the change.
Director, Katie Pesskin has determined to keep set and props minimal meaning the narrative is delivered solely through the performer. This decision showcases Rice’s excellent storytelling and exceptional comic timing. Quickly, she wins over the audience.
A firm and relevant reminder, revolving around the importance of caring for oneself and the shamelessness of asking for help when struggling. Compelling, Witty and brilliantly performed.
Reviewer: Isla Robison
Reviewed: 26th October 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★★