1. FLEABAG

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - ALEXANDRA BELLAD-EL­LIS

Fleabag, an in-your-face play about an in-your-face char­ac­ter, opened at Cen­tre­point Theatre on Satur­day.

Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge Di­rected by Heather O’Car­roll Cen­tre­point Theatre Septem­ber 3 - Oc­to­ber 1

Fleabag is se­ri­ously funny from the open­ing mo­ment when the ti­tle char­ac­ter sashays drunk across the stage.

The play’s pro­tag­o­nist is ir­rev­er­ent, filthy and shares un­fil­tered with the au­di­ence, what­ever is go­ing through her head - from her sex­ual habits to her thoughts on pass­ing strangers.

As she lets us into her world, we see be­neath the hard shell she projects, an em­pa­thy for oth­ers and the pain of her best friend’s re­cent death.

There is a real dark power in this play that takes the au­di­ence by sur­prise with its in­ten­sity and bru­tal­ity.

As Fleabag, solo ac­tor So­phie Hambleton from TV3’s West­side, bril­liantly guides the au­di­ence through this 70-minute no in­ter­val roller­coaster, yet her en­ergy lev­els never flag.

The power of the sto­ry­telling elic­its spon­ta­neous ‘‘oh’s’’ from the au­di­ence.

The set is in­tri­cate, and on var­i­ous lev­els, adding to the feel that there is a whole world on the stage. The other tech­ni­cal as­pects of the play are min­i­mal, al­low­ing all the at­ten­tion to fo­cus on the char­ac­ter and her story.

With ap­peal to both men and women, Fleabag has strong lan­guage and sex­ual ref­er­ences, and is for ages 14 and over.

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