Hold The Pickle, a one woman autobiographical journey through Rachel Berger's fascinating upbringing, can be summed up simply in one word...Real. Everything about Berger's performance is real, and it should be, with Berger traversing between the three central characters in her life, her Mother, Father and herself. And while the reality of the dialogue cannot be questioned it is the nuance that Berger elicits in her performance that mould this piece and transport it (without trying to sound pretentious) into the spectrum of creative art. At its simplest we are being told a story, as if we are children being recounted a tale before bedtime. At its most complex Hold The Pickle is a raw account of the life of an immigrant family fleeing war torn Poland to Melbourne via the corners of the globe in a desperate struggle for survival and the chance of a safer life.
There is a perfect mix of subtle humour and poignancy in the opening stages of the 90 minute journey, by the conclusion however, there is nothing subtle about the humour, the loudness in which you are laughing tells you that Rachel Berger is just a very funny woman with a lifetimeof stories; Some of these told, some not, but you get the feeling that every untold tale is brimming inside of Berger, informing every word spoken and every move made.
Transitions between characters and moments were executed perfectly with the help of a particularly delicate lighting design by Matthew Peckam and lighting realisation by Michele Preshaw. Both the simple, yet affective set, also by Peckham and the lighting design capture moments eloquently and benefit in capturing Berger's story.
Hold The Pickle is running for a limited season this week in the Fairfax Studio at the Arts Centre. Do whatever you can to get a ticket and you will not be let down by this particularly moving piece from a wonderfully talented and worldly Rachel Berger in a story that with fill your heart with joy.
Hold The Pickle, Fairfax Studio, The Arts Centre Melbourne until September 24