Review: Pickle Jar at Underbelly Bristo

A one-woman triumph, Pickle Jar addresses themes of grief, friendship and consent while parodying 21st century life with sharp wit and humour.

Written and performed by Maddie Rice – the critically acclaimed actress who took on Phoebe Waller Bridge’s role in the Fleabag tour – this one-woman play centres on ‘Miss’, a modern day Miss Jean Brodie who cares deeply for her class of young teenage girls. When her favourite pupil Carly tragically passes away, Miss is forced to tackle her own trauma, resulting in a impressively difficult performance from Rice as she delves into the depths of grief, guilt and self-deprecation with stark sincerity.

Rice’s writing is honest and heartwarming, tackling important social issues with wit and brevity. Racing backwards and forwards, the performance flits between time and place, juxtaposing tragic circumstances with well timed comic observations to keep the audience enthralled from start to finish. The non-linear timeline helps further communicate the complex mixture of events and emotions that have lead to the story Miss has to tell.

Maddie Rice is brilliantly relatable in her portrayal of a twenty-something woman, navigating a whirlwind of Instagram envy, piña coladas and the search for Mr Right. Eccentric and lovable with an unwavering stage presence, Rice conveys key themes of sexual consent, female friendship and grief while still keeping the play light and full of laugh out loud moments.

Funny, brilliant and often bizarre, Pickle Jar teaches us the value of role models, the need to cut ourselves some slack and that sometimes, when all hope seems lost, the best thing to do is to mindfully eat a raisin.

Pickle Jar at Underbelly Bristo 2nd – 26th August 2018, 4.40pm

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