West­side star head­lines Cen­tre­point’s new com­edy

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY! -

Hold on tight, Fleabag is com­ing!

Star of TV3’s West­side So­phie Ham­ble­ton, is set to un­leash a riproar­ing ac­count of one 21st-cen­tury fe­male in the New Zealand premiere of Fleabag, a ri­otous onewoman show writ­ten by Broad­church’s Phoebe WallerBridge.

Join­ing the ranks of re­fresh­ingly hon­est women like Caitlin Moran, Amy Schumer and Girls cre­ator Lena Dun­ham, Fleabag is the god­dess of filth and su­per­hero for the ‘‘me’’ gen­er­a­tion in this sidesplit­tingly funny – and unashamedly naughty – play.

For one hour only, Fleabag lets us see the world through her eyes as she nav­i­gates a life go­ing nowhere af­ter sab­o­tag­ing her re­la­tion­ships with her boyfriend, her fam­ily, and her best friend. A mod­ern Brid­get Jones with a mouth like a sailor, Fleabag is not, as writer Waller-Bridge is quick to point out, based on her­self, although ‘‘maybe she’s the litte bit of devil in us all’’.

‘‘[ Fleabag] came from a frus­tra­tion and a rage about the ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women – it’s tire­some and ex­haust­ing to be sur­rounded by it. It’s so drilled into her brain that she sex­u­alises every­thing – her­self, her friends, her food, her job. She’s got to the point where she be­lieves that sex de­fines her com­pletely.

‘‘Peo­ple may re­coil in hor­ror at some of the things she says, and think she’s re­pul­sive, but I un­der­stand her and I think other women can re­late to her,’’ says Waller-Bridge. ‘‘There’s a vul­ner­a­bil­ity that I hope peo­ple can see.’’

Di­rec­tor Heather O’Car­roll, who re­turns to Cen­tre­point Theatre 10 years af­ter ap­pear­ing in Weigh­ing In, says she is ex­cited to work at the helm of this crit­i­cally-ac­claimed play.

‘‘I love good com­edy writ­ing that feels cur­rent and unashamedly au­then­tic to women now. Di­rect­ing this has also pro­vided me with the op­por­tu­nity to work with So­phie, who is not only a brilliant ac­tress, but also a dear friend.’’

Chap­man Tripp award-win­ner Ham­ble­ton says she is ter­ri­fied but ex­cited about per­form­ing in her first ever solo show. ‘‘I love its hon­esty and how it beau­ti­fully cap­tures an as­pect of life for peo­ple in my gen­er­a­tion."

Call the babysit­ter, grab your girl­friends, and come meet your new best friend Fleabag for an up­close and personal chat. This is com­edy sto­ry­telling at its very best, with all the un­spo­ken nitty-gritty of real life. It may not be pretty, but it’s funny as hell.

Fleabag, orig­i­nally per­formed by Waller-Bridge, won a host of awards af­ter its de­but in 2013 in­clud­ing a Fringe First Award, The Stage Best Solo Per­former, Off West End Award for most Promis­ing Play­wright and the Critic’s Cir­cle Award for Most Promis­ing Play­wright.

Fleabag runs from Septem­ber 2 to Oc­to­ber 1, Wed­nes­day 6.30pm, Thurs­day-Satur­day 8pm and Sun­day at 5pm. Tick­ets adults $40, group 10+ $36, se­nior/un­der 30/CSC $32, ter­tiary $20, high school $18. Book­ings 06-354-5740, cen­tre­point.co.nz; hello@cen­tre­point.co.nz.

So­phie Ham­ble­ton is Fleabag.

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