Amongst the latest offerings from the West End’s National Theatre, one that promised to send audiences into fits of laughter was the unashamedly honest Fleabag, brought to Bangor’s very own Pontio cinema and broadcast live nationwide on 12th September, followed by two encore screenings on 29th September and 5th October. For those who are not already familiar with the hit BBC comedy of the same name, its creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge showcases her extraordinary talent through her own original screenplay, while also acting out the one-woman show in an innovative dramatic monologue directed by Vicky Jones. Having adored the TV series (which I would also thoroughly recommend) it was interesting to watch the source of its inspiration acted out on stage, purely for the immersive quality brought to the audience in the company of Waller-Bridge’s solo performance alone.
Achieving sold out performances across London and New York, it’s not surprising why this show remains immensely popular since its first showing in 2013. From the opening interview scene, Phoebe captures a twenty-something woman’s desperate struggle to keep herself above water through whatever means possible. Because of her raw, brutal honesty the audience is allowed full access into her mind and emotions, keeping things real and intimate but at the same time nothing is premeditated. While certain well-timed lines prompt spontaneous bouts of laughter, this allowed elements of tragedy to poignantly follow. And that’s what exposes us to the fluctuations of human drama – we search for something to relate to our own lives. This is a tour de force that covers life, love, family, friendships, sex, work and death, and upon reaching the end of this performance, I felt like there was something truly rewarding as well as satisfying in watching a stage play, encouraging me to see more in the future. The only thing that left me with a weight on my heart was discovering it to be over too soon, but at least I can return to the TV series in the meantime.