EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: Fleabag ★★★★
Underbelly George Square, Edinburgh
Saturday 26th August 2017
Before becoming a smash hit on BBC Two, Fleabag, written and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, originally started out as a play, following the life a woman who is trying to sort her life out after her best friend Boo tragically dies in a road accident, leaving Fleabag behind with the Guinea-Pig Cafe to which they both owned.
For this year’s Fringe production, Maddie Rice stars as the helpless romantic female who is completely likeable and someone that the audience can warm to instantly as she enters the stage, as she is very much a normal human being who always makes mistakes; she’s not perfect by any means, and that’s what makes this character so understandable as she leads her normal life. Rice is very convincing in the role, and as the production is a solo show with only added voiceovers to make the piece more open, Rice excels in bringing characters not on stage to life in our imaginations. With only a High Bar stool and an office light above, the stage feels very bare and intimate in a venue that holds around 410 audience members, so much that you at thinks can only see yourself and the performer, with nothing else around. It also occurred to me that Fleabag would make a brilliant audio book if there isn’t one out there already!
The most intriguing thing about the production and something that I really loved was how the story comes full circle. With the production starting and finishing in an interview room, you really can understand the hugely passionate speech she makes at the end to the interviewer as we have followed her journey in the space between, so much that it brings the audience a lot of joy when the last act of the production reaches it's climax.
Overall, Fleabag is a brilliant piece of theatre from Waller-Bridge which is acted incredibly well by Maddie Rice, exploring the life of a female through the loss of a friend and the love life that surrounds a female!