It’s clear to see that the woman who took over from Phoebe Waller-Bridge in the well-received production of Fleabag, has adapted the best from this, and has gone on to create her own interpretation about what it means to be a millennial surviving in the real adult world. Maddie Rice stars as “Miss”, and clever tool used to show the audience that although titled with authority, it is obvious that many people can imagine themselves in her shoes.
Rice starts the show by bringing us a Miranda Hart-styled humorous flair to the piece. With little set, we are completely focused on Miss and her hilarious anecdotes. Rice gets it right in her delivery, as I never feel as though the comedy is forced. Her subtlety and relatability is where the humour truly lies, and this is why she is so successful in taking her audience with her through a journey that you would not find easy to anticipate given the mood at the start of the piece. It’s for this reason that I think the piece is brilliant in its own right; Rice has established a comfortable environment that is raw and honest, meaning that when things take a darker turn, we are buying into the story. It is so important for women to use a platform when given not only to make us laugh, but to tackle issues head on, and the way that this is cleverly weaved into the story is exceptional.
Rice’s range throughout the piece is extremely varied, and given that she has written the show herself, it’s clear that she has used her strengths to her advantage. As Miss, she is a slightly self-conscious woman seeking approval of her school girls, yet as the other characters, she is vastly different, which only highlights the hilariousness awkwardness that Miss exudes. The piece does take a little while to get into, as at first it does seem parallel to a character stand-up routine, but once the story picks up, you can hear a pin drop in the audience (when they’re not laughing, that is!).
As both a writer and an actor, Rice along with the brilliant development and direction from Katie Pesskin, seem to be on the rise and I very much hope she follows in the success of the likes of Waller-Bridge and Michaela Cole showing that women can be real, AND funny.
Pickle Jar played at the Soho Theatre until 10 November 2018. For further information, click here.