Friday, 30 March 2018

Fleabag, March 29, 2018 ****


Maddie Rice in Fleabag 
International act (UK) 
Stars: ****  
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review also published in Herald Sun Comedy Festival (Arts) online on Fri March 30, 2018. KH
Maddie Rice in Fleabag - credit Richard Davenport
Maddie Rice’s character in the comic-tragic monologue, Fleabag, is a hypersexual, boozy 20-something who is vulgar, funny, dislikeable, deeply flawed – and seriously sad.

Almost everything she says or does is offensive, and it is difficult to repress howls of horror or hilarity – depending on your perspective – as she describes her drunken hook-ups, bizarre behaviour, dysfunctional relationships and her shameful secret.

Rice’s performance is audacious and her delivery seamless in this theatrical piece written, and originally performed, by UK comedy wunderkind, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who then transformed it into a hit TV series of the same name.

Fleabag is a self-absorbed, self-confessed ‘bad feminist’ who is obsessed with sex – meaningless sex – and who calculates her self-worth by her ability to attract men – any men, lots of men – no matter how little she fancies them.

Rice perches on a stool for the entire hour, relating Fleabag’s outrageous narrative that introduces us to her guinea pig themed cafe that she ran with her best friend, Boo, until recently when Boo met her untimely and startling death.

She populates the story with characters from Fleabag’s life: her nervy, successful sister; her negligent father; Harry, her absent lover; the rodent-faced bloke she picks up on a train; and old Joe, the relentlessly cheerful, regular cafe customer.

Fleabag’s audacity and grotesquery will leave you gaping, so be prepared to laugh, or be appalled, or both.

At The Coopers Malthouse, Sturt St. Southbank, until April 22.

WRITTEN BY / Phoebe Waller-Bridge
PERFORMED BY / Maddie Rice
DESIGNER / Holly Pigott
DESIGN / Elliot Griggs

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