Part of Edinburgh’s Manipulate Festival 2024, Pickled Republic is advertised as an existential dip into the pickle jar of life from Glasgow-based creator/performer Rudy Cantir.
Originally from Moldova, where apparently every food is pickled, this one-woman show sees Rudy morph into various pickled vegetables to highlight the universal themes of abandonment, being unfulfilled and unwanted, the fundamental need to be loved, or in the case of the pickled tomato, just eaten would be nice! It sounds zany and it is!
Sound designer John Keilty creates an atmospheric, gastric gurgling soundscape and I assume also writes the witty songs which pepper this dish. But the real driving force behind this show are the consumes, which are fabulously conceived by Fergus Dunnet, and which takes this tasty snack to a higher level of gastronomy.
Although advertised as a one-woman show, Rudy’s constant sidekick on stage ,Yvonne Strain, provides BSL interpretation and in truth makes this more like a double act. Their jovial interactions and smirking side glances are a joy to see, and are a shining example of just how effectively and successfully signing can be integrated.
Like an alternative, surreal version of The Masked singer, Rudy, masks-up into her various creations sometimes singing, other times philosophising or dedicating poems to audience members, you, and you and you, squeezing every ounce of juice. There are high points and low points, in what is an uneven show. Whilst the tomato and the onion certainly tickled my appetite, and the gherkin miming her way frantically and with perfectly timed sound effects around a glass pickle jar just made me laugh out loud, the crudities outweighed the niceties on this occasion, but with a little more work and fermentation this could be a banquet.
Reviewer: Greg Holstead
Reviewed: 9th February 2024
North West End UK Rating: