Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag. Photo Richard Davenport
“That’s why they put rubbers onto pencils”.
In the two previous occasions I came across writing company DryWrite, the results were fresh, engaging and a little bit subversive. Fleabag, the company’s new offering written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and directed by Vicky Jones, comes with a spate of awards from the Edinburgh Fringe so the expectations are heightened. And thankfully not squandered.
Fleabag is the monologue of a woman. It’s bookended by a job interview and in between we learn about affairs, casual sex, friendships and guinea pigs. She is very funny, often unlikeable, frequently deluded. The sex is often misjudged but never judgemental. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s performance is unsparing but compulsively watchable. Pencils have rubbers because people make mistakes, and there is a devastating effect when you realise you can’t put to right all the mistakes you have made. Continue reading
Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Marian, Keir Charles as David. Photo Simon Annand
I first came across the company DryWrite in a visit to the Bush theatre last year, for their one off performance of “Funny / Not Funny”: half a dozen short plays written in the two weeks before the event, performed in a kitchen (the set of The Kitchen Sink to be precise) by a company of excellent actors (Tom Riley, Arthur Darvill, Jonjo O’Neill among others). The experience was a high wire act, at all times vibrant, frequently funny, occasionally transcending (a play about cute furry animals doing unspeakable things sticks to mind).
With their new production at the Soho theatre, the action has moved from the kitchen to the bathroom (requirements for functional stage plumbing remain). A couple goes through their morning bathroom routing. Intimacy, lust, tension, anticipation, bodily functions. Throughout the day, the bathroom becomes the focal point of a battle where trauma, loss of control and despair become an urgent, visceral, shocking presence. Marian and David love each other but they come to know this is not enough. Continue reading