Fleabag At Wyndham’s Theatre Is The West End’s Top Ticket Right Now
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"I'm not obsessed with sex," insists that lovable, libidinous London cafe owner we all know from the hottest comedy on TV. "But I just can't stop thinking about it..."
Fleabag is bowing out where she started: on stage. Years before Phoebe Waller-Bridge created Fleabag the telly phenomenon, she created Fleabag the one-woman play. This revival — the last time Waller-Bridge will perform the show — registers at Hamilton levels of hype, but boy it’s worth it.
An hour-long monologue sees Waller-Bridge narrate awkward misadventures that paint a portrait of her millennial alter-ego. Most are side-splitting; all are messy. There is the date with Tube Rodent, a pointy-mouthed man encountered on the Northern line. The job interview at a firm headed by a harasser. And the tortuous process of snapping the perfect nude smartphone pic in an office loo.
The play reveals Waller-Bridge’s confidence with physical comedy and impersonation in a way TV never could. An encounter between Fleabag and her uptight sister on a bad hair day is timed to millisecond-perfection; Waller-Bridge alternating between one woman’s furtive glances and the other’s threatening scowls. Vicky Jones, the star’s long-term collaborator, is the director of these moments of impeccable observation.
And there’s another unfamiliar dynamic at work. Screen Fleabag mostly interacts with others and breaks the fourth wall only occasionally. But for Stage Fleabag, the whole conceit is dropped. She addresses her audience throughout — imploring us to answer such questions as whether she’s a 'bad feminist'.
The confessional setup brings all the more performer-viewer intimacy; proving once and for all that the titular figure is no mere narcissist, but a human reflection of all those who look upon her. Tragicomic, filthy-minded, and more relatable than you’ve ever seen her before, this is a flawless last stand for Fleabag.
Last Updated 29 August 2019