Theatre - Fleabag, Wyndham Theatre
Went to see the amazing and now ubiquitous Pheobe Waller-Bridge last night doing her one-woman play, Fleabag, at the Wyndham’s theatre in London’s West End. It’s the original play from 2013, directed by Vicky Jones, that spawned the massively successful television series of the same name. Watching and listening this you can see why she has since gone on to write one the the globe’s biggest TV shows, Killing Eve and is now one of the writers of the new Bond movie.
She sits alone on stage for most of the hour and ten minutes telling a story to the audience about ‘her’ recent life. Fleabag (almost Pheobe) is sex obsessed and spends most of her time when not running her hamster-themed cafe having sex with unloving lovers or wanking furiously to porn all night. It’s not titilating but heartbreaking, as you realise it’s all an effort to be loved yet to avoid intimacy. Her real love is her friend Boo who co-ran the cafe but has recently been killed. Fleabag feels the guilt of this for reasons to be revealed in the play.
Hilarious but cringe-making, bravely performed on a bare stage, it’s like sitting across from a dinner party guest who’s gradually drawing the attention of the room with the most outrageous stories ever! PWB’s charisma carries it all and you are endeared by her and her character’s extraordinary personal tales of self-disgust and lust.
The audience loved it, whooping her onto stage, pre-empting the now famous lines with giggles, but it must have been something else to have seen this before the TV show. It’s damn outrageous and a little dangerous for a posh theatre and there were a few audience members who walked out tutting (you’d think they’d now what it was about by now!).
You leave more in love with Pheobe than Fleabag, but you’d invite both to dinner.