Tag Archives: Danny Kaan

Pickle

Pickle

★★★

Park Theatre

PICKLE at the Park Theatre

★★★

Pickle

“brims with gags”

 

Deli Segal’s Pickle, a one-woman show which is in the midst of a limited run the Park Theatre, is energetic and full of laughs. Segal’s playwriting debut follows Ari Fish, a 29-year-old Jewish woman who lives with her parents in Finchley, as she navigates her semi-cloistered Jewish community and an alienating secular life. Ari encounters awkward conversations at work and unfavourable comparisons to her frummer (more observant) brother at home. Dating becomes a treacherous choice between cringe-worthy family setups and endless faux pas from non-Jewish Hinge hookups. Segal’s impressions of the characters that surround Ari are specific and her performance is solid throughout.

Ari’s Jewish guilt, in the form of voiceover and a blue wash, barges in at inopportune moments. Though working with voiceover in one-person shows can be tricky, the decision to reserve it for this voice in Ari’s head, allowing Segal to inhabit the other characters in Ari’s life, makes for a seamless incorporation. Segal plays across from the voiceover with excellent comedic timing.

Pickle brims with gags, from a scroll laden with in-community references detailing the spectrum of London Jews from frum to not frum at all, to drunken karaoke performance of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’. These mostly go over quite well. One particular gag, the retelling of a bris gone wrong featuring foreskin and salmon, leans excessively into slapstick and gross-out humour, which grates against the overall tone of the piece.

Transitions, both in terms of Emily Rose Simon’s sound design and Laura Wohlwend’s movement direction, tend to fall flat. Songs cut in and out abruptly without a related physical response. The accompanying movement feels uninspired and unspecific—the energy present in the rest of Segal’s performance does not carry over to these moments.

Though the writing at times becomes bogged down in explanation, which takes away space for Ari’s character to develop, Pickle is an entertaining and informative watch.

 

Reviewed on 16th November 2022

by JC Kerr

Photography by Danny Kaan

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:

 

When Darkness Falls | ★★★ | August 2021
Flushed | ★★★★ | October 2021
Abigail’s Party | ★★★★ | November 2021
Little Women | ★★★★ | November 2021
Cratchit | ★★★ | December 2021
Julie Madly Deeply | ★★★★ | December 2021
Another America | ★★★ | April 2022
The End of the Night | ★★ | May 2022
Monster | ★★★★★ | August 2022
A Single Man | ★★★★ | October 2022

 

 

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Zombiegate

Zombiegate

★★★

Theatre503

ZOMBIEGATE at the Theatre503

★★★

Zombiegate

“Ebony Jonelle and George Howard have a genuine chemistry that lifts the whole production”

 

Matthew Gabrielli’s debut play certainly doesn’t shy away from the relevant and prevalent: Internet trolling, arguments for free speech, and cancel culture are all batted back and forth, changing hands between those that suffer and thrive under the harsh rule of social media, and those that perpetuate the worst of it.

Our troll is a giant papier-mache Punch puppet- unsurprisingly named Mr. Punch. And having spotted a selfie in which our protagonists, Sophie and Jamie, have unintentionally included a floral tribute for a dead child in the background, Mr Punch decides to try and ruin their lives.

There’s both not enough and too much being dealt with in this 90-minute straight-through. Most of the plot is fairly predictable, pointing out the injustice and cruelty of the internet, the very real effect it can have on your life. On the other hand, Gabrielli tries to touch on white privilege, sexism, classism, the ineffectiveness of the police, amongst other things, and there just isn’t time.

The use of puppets definitely adds to the production value, but it takes something away from the story itself. While I understand they facilitate a big reveal of Mr Punch’s true identity, the moment comes far too late, so there isn’t really enough time to understand him- we’re given to acknowledge that he’s a multifaceted person who’s done a lot of good, who has people he loves. But ultimately, he doesn’t seem too dissimilar to his puppet likeness.

All that said, Ebony Jonelle and George Howard have a genuine chemistry that lifts the whole production, and notwithstanding Howard’s Jamie having a slightly unbelievable character arc, their relationship rings true throughout. They’re funny and teasing, and despite being from different backgrounds, they seem to understand each other. Or at least they want to.

Delyth Evans’ stage design amounts to three lots of sheer curtains, a set of double doors, and a couple of stacking boxes. But the simplicity is quite elegant, creating various spaces and atmospheres with very little changed.

There’s a lot that’s good about this production; it’s very close to feeling important and urgent even, but the script wants a thorough going-over.

 

 

Reviewed on 8th November 2022

by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Danny Kaan

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:

 

Til Death do us Part | ★★★★★ | May 2022
I Can’t Hear You | ★★★★ | July 2022

 

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