Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Fleabag

C-

When Phoebe Waller-Bridge performed this one-hour one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013, it was a smash hit. When it moved on to London, she was nominated for an Olivier award. As a result of the show’s success, it was adapted for television as a six-episode series which garnered her a BAFTA award. Since then she has won further acclaim as the writer and show-runner for “Killing Eve.” Since I had greatly enjoyed both the television version of “Fleabag” and “Killing Eve,” I was eager to see Ms. Waller-Bridge live when the stage version finally arrived in New York for a limited run. Apparently I was not alone, because the entire run at Soho Playhouse is sold out. When the lights dimmed for the show to begin, the audience roared before the star even appeared. Although I did not have much trouble with the British accent, I still missed a good part of what she said during the first several minutes. She spoke rapidly, swallowed the ends of her sentences and performed without amplification. The uncompromising character that she has created is a troubled young Londoner who is sexually compulsive and not very sympathetic. What we see of her in one short hour is no match for the extended look we get in the TV series. Onstage we don’t really get a sense of why she is the way she is. The monologue is often graphically raunchy and Ms. Waller-Bridge can be quite funny. Nevertheless, the experience somehow did not stir me nearly as much as the TV series did. Most of the audience seemed to be having a wonderful time but I was quite disappointed. If you were unable to get a ticket, don’t despair. Watch the TV version on Amazon Prime. You’ll have a better time and save $200. Plus you’ll get to see Olivia Colman too. Running time: one hour, no intermission.

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