Pickle Jar is the debut play written and performed by Maddie Rice. It has come to Soho Theatre following a well received run at Edinburgh Fringe. This one-woman show follows a young teacher trying to shape the minds of her class of teenage girls while struggling with adult life herself.
The story talks of stranger danger, young love, heartbreak, friendship, Tinder, struggling to fit in, keeping up with your best friend’s drinking and partying, while not shying away from darker issues of consent, victim-blaming, grief, and the struggle to be honest and tell the truth when bad things happen.
Rice plays an array of characters including school counsellors, fellow teachers and teenage girls filled with attitude and false confidence. She is an accomplished performer, weaving her tale to take an honestly refreshing look at the challenges of life as a young woman today. She doesn’t shy away from talking about difficult topics; it’s very clear that some things are not simple and there are plenty of shades of grey.
The story switches between time and place, from tragic to comic in a heartbeat, a roller coaster 70 minutes with plenty of mixed metaphors to keep your brain engaged.
Rice is a delight to watch and has a talent for comic timing. She is clearly a skilful writer and one to watch. Pickle Jar doesn’t pretend to have all the answers but it’s certainly a strong attempt to start some conversations about difficult issues and get us all being a bit more honest with ourselves and each other. Go with your friends and take them out afterwards for a proper chat about what’s going on in their lives.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Ali Wright