nt live's fleabag
DIRECTOR: vicky jones
STARRING: phoebe waller-bridge
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve) and directed by Vicky Jones, Fleabag is a rip-roaring look at some sort of woman living her sort of life.
Not since Ricky Gervais in the early 2000’s has a British comedic writer flipped the cultural landscape on its head. Then Phoebe Waller-Bridge came along with her critically acclaimed TV show Fleabag (based on her Edinburgh Fringe Festival award winning one woman play) and has taken the world by storm. And in NT Live’s Fleabag you can more than see why Waller-Bridge has done so.
Written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and directed by Vicky Jones, this National Theatre Live play is a rip-roaring look at some sort of woman living her sort of life. Fleabag may seem oversexed, emotionally unfiltered and self-obsessed, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With family and friendships under strain and a guinea pig café struggling to keep afloat, Fleabag suddenly finds herself with nothing to lose.
The format of NT Live’s Fleabag is dumbfounding in light of modern sensibilities. I can’t remember ever seeing a mainstream (outside of more artistic festivals) one person monologue play. Although there are a variety of sound effects and voice overs that Waller-Bridge interacts with during the play, it's really just her sitting on a chair in the middle of a stage. That's it.
And with nearly any other performer or story it would have been a tedious experience, but the honesty with which Waller-Bridge performs is what makes NT Live’s Fleabag just extraordinary. She manages to capture all the joy and frustrations of a modern woman.
At one moment you’re laughing at a predicament that she finds herself in and the next holding back tears as the most horrifically sad situation unfolds in front of you. Waller-Bridge manages to beautifully and purely capture what it is to be human both in the play and her performance.
As wonderfully poignant and eye widening in equal measure, NT Live’s Fleabag is as extraordinary as the TV series as Waller-Smith commands the stage.