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Fringe review: Fleabag

Adelaide Fringe

Actress Maddie Rice balances humour and tragedy to great effect, leaving audiences shocked and enamoured by the hilariously honest and refreshingly risqué character Fleabag. ★★★★½

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Written and originally played by British playwright Phoebe Waller-Bridge and later turned into a BBC TV series, Fleabag tells the story of a 26-year-old modern single woman struggling to deal with the death of her best friend and a failing business.

From the outset, the storyline seems rather depressing, but Waller-Bridge seamlessly melds hilarious scenarios with heart-wrenching monologues.

Obsessed with sex and perhaps too frank for her own good, Fleabag recounts her relationships with friends and family in such a crude and hilariously open way that the audience members almost forget the tragedy underlying the play.

The constant switching between emotions and superb delivery from Rice ensures we are transfixed the entire hour. Her confidence on stage is palpable and her natural storytelling ability leaves the audience hanging off every last word.

The biggest selling point for Fleabag, though, is its ability to relate to everyday women. Fleabag is a refreshingly modern character who manages to tap into the deeply held views which many of us think but never voice.

Incredibly charming yet inherently flawed, she is admired for her frankness and despised for her poor life choices. This complexity in her character is intriguing and ultimately leads audiences to reflect on their own life choices.

Fleabag received critical acclaim when it debuted at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe and it’s easy to see why. Superb acting coupled with a brilliant script left me one very happy Fringe ticket-holder.  

Fleabag is playing at The Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 18. Read more InDaily Fringe reviews and stories here.

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