REVIEW: NT Live: Fleabag

Having never seen the show before, I walked into the Michigan Theater with only the high praise of my friends who have seen Fleabag. However, I liked what I’ve heard and NT Live never disappoints, and they certainly didn’t this time. 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge manages to insert her humor into the serious, her jokes masking her depression, her sex covering her deeper, underlying problems, seamlessly weaving all of these factors together in her one-woman play. The show starts with Fleabag going into a job interview. Waller-Bridge navigates time in a manner that may be confusing to begin with, especially with it being a one-person show, but she effectively uses flashbacks to provide context for why she did something or how she met someone or why she had a certain type of relationship with someone. In the end, the last scene is her back in the job interview, and Waller-Bridge does such an amazing job captivating the audience into her story and each scene that you forget the entire narrative was to explain why she needed a job so badly.  

She manages to jump from persona to persona with ease, each character with their own distinctive facial expressions, mannerisms, and voice. The guy with a small mouth, kindly referred to as Bus Rodent rodent, elicited much laughter every time she managed to transform her face. She also portrayed her relationship with her sister well, capturing the reserved and uptight personality that contrasts her own free spirit. 

The main tension in this show, aside from her own internal struggles and insecurities,  surrounds her best friend Boo, who recently passed away. Waller-Bridge balances the emotions Fleabag feels as she starts to spiral with humor and levity, much of which involves her sexual coping mechanisms. As she deals with her demons, Fleabag reveals much about human pain and how you can find light even in the darkest times.

If you missed NT Live: Fleabag last week, don’t worry—there’s a special encore performance at the Michigan Theater tonight!