The Door, Birmingham REP, Wednesday 14th January, 2015
A tall chair stands at the centre of a square. It is on this minimalistic set that solo performer Maddie Rice for the most part remains seated – but this is by no means a static performance.
It begins with a disastrous job interview. Rice interacts with a pre-recorded male voice – the timing is exquisite. Her story unfolds and a picture builds of a chaotic, comical existence: she’s between breakups with her boyfriend, except this time we get the feeling that he won’t be back; she is meanwhile trying to pick up men for sex – the sexual talk is very frank and very, very funny; we are introduced to a host of characters: her sister, her dad, regular café customer Joe… Rice brings the story and the stage to engaging and entertaining life. She is an 18-certificate Miranda, but funnier.
What emerges from among the hilarious anecdotes and interactions is a touching portrait of grief and guilt. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s script crackles with comedy, character and brio. Directed by Vicky Jones, the energy of the piece draws us in and keeps us in and, thanks to a stellar performance from Maddie Rice, the chaotic narrator both makes us roar with laughter and touches our hearts. An entire audience gasps audibly to hear of the fate of a non-existent guinea pig – a testament to the power of the storytelling.
Well worth the effort of getting off your backside to go and see this actor sitting on hers.