Written & performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
27th September 2019
Reviewed by Amina Hersi
Phoebe Waller-Bridge brings her hit show back to the stage – and the one-woman act is still ridiculously brilliant live (shown at Liverpool’s FACT cinema). Gathering a critical praise, Fleabag first opened at the Edinburgh fringe festival back in 2013, and since then has been turned into a two series culture defining TV tragicomedy.
Of course, as I enter the cinema screen, it’s at capacity filled with mainly women of all ages and some men. As the lights go down Waller-Bridge appears sat on a tall stool on what feels like an intimate setting. We are immersed into Fleabag; a solo monologue, accompanied by the protagonist’s sarcastic eyebrow swoops and her oh so seducing red lipstick.
The majority of the plot mirrors the first TV series, so it is safe to say the rest of the cast are not present. However you can hear their voices in the background for some added emphasis.
Fleabag tells the story of a 20 something year-old hedonistic woman living in the city; spending her days running her failing café business, whilst trying to mend the toxic relationships surrounding her. Whilst the protagonist is both brilliantly witty and sexually unapologetic it becomes apparent that she is desperately sad; which is showcased in her candid but nevertheless hysterical asides to the camera.
The play’s focal point is how Fleabag manoeuvres through life while dealing with the tragic loss of her best friend, emotionally detached father and sister, a failing business and a sordid brother in law; all whilst laughing through her mishaps.
Despite her shortcomings Fleabag’s rebellious nature of compulsively lying, stealing a statuette of a naked woman and even cheating with her best friend’s boyfriend, allows her to challenge the stereotypical polished female protagonist, and is refreshing to see her as a catalyst for the imperfect woman.
Overall, Fleabag is an era defining breath of fresh air and a work of undeniable genius.
Refreshing, relatable, hysterical, and would be a shame to miss!