BWW Reviews: FLEABAG, Soho Theatre, May 13 2014
After its award winning debut in 2013, Phoebe Waller-Bridge's one-woman show, FLEABAG, has returned to the Soho Theatre for what looks likely to be another sell-out run.
Waller-Bridge plays the eponymous hero, who first appears in a disastrous job interview for a job she desperately needs. We're then taken back to a week in her life that led to that moment and how she'd managed to sink so low.
We find out how she ended up running and then closing down a guinea-pig themed café with her best friend and just what she thought of her regular customers. We also learn the important reason behind rubbers on the end of pencils.
This is a sharply witty show that pulls very few punches. Waller-Bridge's excellent stage presence, comic timing and rapport with an audience allow her to get away with some quite shocking moments of very dark humour.
FLEABAG challenges our assumptions and ideas of gender stereotypes. It is at times shamelessly explicit, and then shifts to beautiful moments of self-reflection. It is a clever and engaging play that whizzes along at a fantastic pace. There are times when the audience don't know whether to cheer or gasp, and end up doing both - it is undoubtedly a laugh-out-loud show.
Pre-recorded voices and sounds are used to great effect, but it is Waller-Bridge's ability to paint vivid pictures through words and actions that really make this show shine. She owns the small stage and looks like she's enjoying every minute of her audience - Fleabag is a character that simply craves attention.
It is both profound and profane - and this is what makes show the success that it is. It is fell of self-confidence and charm and twists that you don't see coming. Fleabag deserves its acclaim and is likely to keep audiences laughing for some time yet.