Hello future anna! I hope you’re good! Last night I got to see the NT: Live showing of Fleabag at my local cinema.
Some friends and I had wanted to try and queue for tickets to the actual show, but long story short, that didn’t end up happening. I felt like I could possibly try and queue for tickets myself, but it just wouldn’t have been as fun I don’t think, and those early queue times WHAT THE HECK! Which shows can get people queueing from as early as 5am to get a ticket? Not many, but it’s something Phoebe Waller-Bridge has managed to achieve in what feels like such a short career. She just blew up overnight. The success of Fleabag, the live show and tv series, the success of Killing Eve, and now writing the new James Bond film. Wow. What a woman, what a talent!
However, I did join the theatre queue yesterday. Not for a ticket, but to get programs for me and the friends who had wanted to go as I thought it’d be a lovely keepsake! I also managed to buy a copy of the script, which since watching I have looked through in awe. Wow.
Ok, first, I wanna talk about the NT: Live situation.
So, after seeing that the show would be broadcast, the friends and I booked to go to the cinema showing in case we couldn’t get tickets, and we’d probably wanna see it again anyway. After the trip was cancelled, we were all excited to see the show at the cinema. I can’t lie, I was a little worried about how it would be filmed and if the quality would be any good, but wow, it was the best. We literally had the best seat in the house. We saw overviews as well as deep closeups so we could really see Phoebe’s expressions and impressions which really made up a lot of the show. It was like we were at the theatre but with VIP access to really get up close with this performance.
I think the idea of broadcasting shows live around the UK (I’m not sure if they go further afield) is a fantastic idea. It can be hard to see so much art and drama taking place, especially in London and not being able to go and see it. So, to be able to go to your local cinema and feel like you’re at the theatre is amazing. It was also cheaper!!
I initially found out about it through some ladies who go to church near where my family live (I’m currently in London), who go and see the ballet and opera at the cinema, rather than taking the hassle of travelling to London. This show was my first experience of the NT: Live setup and I have to recommend it. I can’t enough.
I only hope they begin to show the performances they’ve recorded a few times to give more people chance to see them, but I think that’s what they’re going to do with a few shows they have broadcast recently which is fab!!
Ok, now onto the actual review….
What person can hold an audience in tears and laughter for an hour and a half, with just them self, a lil bit of voiceover and a chair? The fantastic Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who has managed to capture the hearts of what seems to be the whole world with her wit and truths about relationships, sex and trying to survive in the modern-day world as a “feminist”.
The premise of the show is very simple. A woman reading a monologue with bits of voiceover every now and then to simulate other characters, talking about her life and the ups and downs she is facing. It all seems quite innocent but then we see the bigger picture start to unravel, and how her life seems to be unravelling with it.
It’s simple, yet so well done. The script is basic, yet so funny. Her humour really looks into people’s dark secrets, things that every single person does but no one wants to admit. I love how honest it is. It may not be auto biographical, but you can see how bits of PWB’s life, and her friends have inspired her work. It was bloody brilliant.
The set was super simple. Just a tall red chair, in a small square of red carpet, the rest of the stage blank. It made it feel like an interrogation, we were waiting for the character of Fleabag to crack. I liked it, and the use of coloured lighting which changed every now and then, helping us to feel part of Fleabag’s bubble. Blue haze when she was sad, golden glows when a door was opened, and she was stood in the light. It was utterly brilliant. Compared to the other shows on the street, this stage was super bare and not as spectacular, but what made it come to life was the lighting and PWB’s presence on the stage.
Phoebe was phenomenal. Like I said at the start, to be able to hold an audience for an hour and a half must be so tough, but she is brilliant. Her humour, the way she waited at the best points to gage the audience’s reactions. The way she stood to be different characters and could change who she was in a split second. Her acting is just amazing, there’s simply not enough praise in the whole entire world that I can give her for all she gave to the show.
Overall, I think everybody loves how simple Fleabag is. We can all relate to her. We’re nothing like her at the same time. No one is as brash or over the top or revealing, but the way Phoebe Waller-Bridge becomes this character on stage, we all see parts of ourselves. It was outstanding, and you can see why it has all the 5-star reviews.
I highly recommend watching the show if you can, whether queuing for hours (although there are LIMITED shows left) or seeing when it is shown next at your local cinema. It really is a treat, and if you love the tv show Fleabag, you’ll love this.
I hope you get to enjoy lots more theatre future anna, whether at the place itself or at the cinema!