EDINBURGH 2018: BWW Review: PICKLE JAR, Underbelly
Written and performed by Maddie Rice, Pickle Jar is a play about a character referred to only as "Miss". Miss is an English teacher in a high school and is also responsible for leading PSHE classes and has to teach her all female class about stranger danger among other things. She's awkward but well meaning as she encourages the girls to come to her with whatever problems they have in their lives.
Pickle Jar has some excellent themes about how authority figures are seen to have their lives together. This definitely isn't the case for Miss who is still a bit of a shambles. Having recently been dumped she takes to Tinder and starts going clubbing midweek. She definitely cares about her students and this is an interesting insight into how beneficial a good teacher can be.
Rice flips between characters with great ease, displaying different accents and mannerisms for the girls in her class, her well meaning counsellor colleague and her wild Irish roommate. Although Pickle Jar is very well written, it is Rice's captivating performance that really makes this special.
Pickle Jar isn't a linear narrative which really enhances the experience. We are drip fed information as the play unfolds and what seemed liked a light piece descends into gut-wrenching heartbreak. Pickle Jar takes on a lot with dealing with grief, sexual assault and suicide and it manages to tackle these issues with great sensitivity and care.