REVIEW: Tracy Crisp’s Pearls is a beautiful story of memories of her mother

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Pearls is a one-woman show, in which Tracy Crisp stands on the small open-air stage in the Botanic Gardens and tells us the story of her childhood memories of her mother. These are recollections she has when helping her father clear out the childhood home in his ailing health.



Tracy Crisp has a way of story-telling where you feel like you’re there – she describes the smells, the sights – her mother’s three gardens – Australian natives, French provincial and Mediterranean. Her mother’s puffing on Marlboro Reds. The way her mother would put her make-up on for her Saturday night out to the cabaret. Her mother’s speedy knitting, even faster when she is angry. The commode for a coffee table.


Tracy doesn’t need to impersonate her mother or dress like her for us to feel like we know her. She has such a talent for describing her that we feel like she’s there in front of us. Her father too. But this is more than anything a story about her mother and her mother’s pearls.


Among the memories of her mother is the story of her mother’s pearls – her earliest memory of them, her getting to borrow them and then her father and later Tracy herself, being unable to find them. The pearls come to represent her mother and the inability to find them brings great distress to Tracy as she sees them in some ways as a part of her mother’s legacy.


The set for Pearls is basic – a stool upon which Crisp sits throughout the show, a small plant for her mother’s garden, and a box which sits next to her on stage until she unpacks it later in Pearls.


Crisp tells the story of the search for her mother’s pearls with both humour and delicacy. The audience laughs and then at time you hear a joint “awwww” as they want to cry.


You’re going to want to go home and hug your loved ones even tighter after you see Pearls. Or pick up the phone and tell them you love them.




Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Fringe 2021

Tracy Crisp: Pearls is currently showing at Adelaide Fringe 2021.


The in-person performances of Pearls have now completely sold out. However, you can view the performance virtually via the LIVE at Watch from Home on Saturday 20 March at 6:20pm. You can purchase tickets via the Adelaide Fringe website:


For other Adelaide Fringe 2021 shows, look at the official website:


Click on the links below to read our more Adelaide Fringe coverage!

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REVIEW: Euromash: an hour’s musical journey through Europe but not as you know it

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