LUCY FEIBUSCH reviews Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag at the Soho Theatre.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge sits in front of an audience who are in stitches. Everybody is laughing at Fleabag’s description of how her best friend, Boo, died. It is an immensely tragic and not at all funny death, if ever there was one, but Waller-Bridge’s comic timing is impeccable. Fast, fluid and strong, she doesn’t allow her audience the space to think about the seedy moral foundations of the show. Instead, everything seems justified because it’s just so damn funny.
Fleabag depicts the disturbing transition from the sexually liberated, progressive 21st century women to lethal nymphomaniac.
Plagued with internal psychological complications stemming from her addiction to YouPorn, Fleabag’s internal monologue is sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex. The external monologue that her audience hears is the anecdotal quest for sex, post-sex, during-sex, sexcetera….
Fleabag begs the question, how has the freely accessible onslaught of pornography affected the personal lives of today? ‘Fucking’ is the norm, Fleabag looks disgusted as she talks about her (ex)boyfriend Harry wanting to ‘make love’, and seems dismissive and nonchalant when referencing the blood stained hand print on her bedroom wall from that one time she had a threesome on her period.
Using a frame narrative of a job interview, Waller-Bridge constructs three Fleabags. Firstly, there is a girl telling us her about her life, in a matter-of-fact AdultXXX story-time kind of way. Secondly, the retrospective Fleabag looks at her actions with interjections of judgement and realisation from a future self. And, finally, the Fleabag who becomes absorbed in the past lechery of the story she tells.
The audience leaves the theatre, each member brooding on the normality or abnormality of their sexual desires as dictated by society (porn and otherwise).
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is phenomenal. But don’t go with your parents.