Edinburgh 2013 review: Fleabag, Underbelly, Cowgate


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The Independent Culture

The last time Phoebe Waller-Bridge appeared on stage, in Jack Thorne’s Mydidae, she was naked in a bathroom and going through her ablutions. In her hot new solo show for Edinburgh, she’s no less startling or revealing but she does keep her clothes on.

Like a dirty-talking younger cousin of Miranda Hart, she sits on a stool at a job interview that segues into a confessional re-cap of her partnership with a friend in a café, how the friend got killed by mistake, her frowsty sex life, and her advice to a sister whose teenage stepson wants to take a bath with her (the sister).

Waller-Bridge, as her name implies, is rather posh, rather tall and the swoopingly opposite of shy and retiring. She’s a modern Restoration heroine, full of plots and asides, bitchy to a degree, and keen to see some action. Ironically, she’s rooted to the spot, and her appetite for life is tainted by a healthy distaste for the physical effort required.

One minute she can challenge her father by wondering, if he saw her on the internet, would he click on her? The next, she’s writhing awkwardly into position to satisfy a grim boyfriend’s request for intimate photographs on his mobile. 

There’s not a minute in the sixty when you don’t feel she’s not speaking directly from personal experience, and that’s what’s so unsettling, though I doubt if this material will spin off into a long-running radio or television series; Waller-Bridge herself most probably will, one day.

To 25 Aug (0844 545 8252)