Pickle Jar

Maddie Rice
Underbelly, Cowgate
to

Maddie Rice took over from Phoebe Waller Bridge as the protagonist in the touring production of Fleabag and it is impossible to ignore the influence of her predecessor when watching Pickle Jar.

Miss Rice performs her solo show, which treads a tightrope between 'chick lit' and something considerably deeper, as she relates the story of a schoolteacher struggling to find love or, failing that, at least an opportunity for consensual sex.

The opening stages witness the break-up of a relationship, followed by stories of alcoholic excess with and without an Irish flatmate. However, there is also a view of school life, with lippy pupils making the job difficult. On the other hand, a fellow teacher is dishy enough to take the lady's breath away.

The character's ineffectual search for love does feel as if it could have come directly from Phoebe Waller Bridge, though not quite hitting the same comic heights as the fringe star who turned her creation into a TV series.

This play really takes off when a succession of disasters occur, injecting much-needed pathos into what might otherwise have seemed like a very lightweight work.

Philip Fisher