02/09/2016 - 01/10/2016
THE FLEABAG BITES BACK
Westside star headlines Centrepoint’s naughty new comedy
Hold on tight, Fleabag is coming! Star of TV3’s Westside, Sophie Hambleton, is set to unleash a rip-roaring account of one 21st-century female in the New Zealand premiere of Fleabag, a riotous one-woman show written by Broadchurch’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
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 wank generation. In this side-splittingly funny – and unashamedly naughty – play, find out what it’s like to be young, female and f**ked, in every sense of the word.
“Sucker punch funny”★★★★★ – Scotsman
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 based on anyone in particular, although maybe she’s the little bit of devil in us all.
Director Heather O’Carroll, who returns to Centrepoint Theatre ten 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. It’s confronting and heart-warming and hilarious and devastating.”
“Holy Mother of God! Fleabag really is as good as they say. This is one of the best hours you could ever spend in a theatre.” – Huffington Post
Call the babysitter, grab your girlfriends, and come meet your new best friend Fleabag for an up-close 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 writer Phoebe 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.
Centrepoint Theatre, 280 Church Street, Palmerston North
2 September – 1 October 2016
Wednesday 6.30PM; Thursday – Saturday 8PM; Sunday 5PM
Tickets: Adult $40; Group (10+) $36; Senior/Under 30/CSC $32; Tertiary $20; High School $18
Bookings: 06 354 5740; centrepoint.co.nz; firstname.lastname@example.org
$25 Preview: Friday 2 September
Opening Night: Saturday 3 September
For ages 14+
Contains strong language and sexual references
Cast: Sophie Hambleton
Set Design: Daniel Williams
LX Design: Glenn Ashworth
Sound Design: Kane Parsons
Production Manager: Kat Turkilsen
Stage Manager & Operator: Jenna Kelly
Set Construction: Gib Johnston
One-actor play a no holds-barred look at modern womanhood
Review by Tina White 06th Sep 2016
Forget the “strong language and sexual references” tag on Fleabag.
Honestly, it would be a pity if it made anyone think twice before seeing this brilliant one-actor play.
Created by English actor/playwright Phoebe Waller-Bridge, it’s been described as a “no holds-barred look at modern womanhood, from the perspective of a rude and somewhat unlikeable skint millennial” …
Sophie Hambleton plays out her character’s own-worst-enemy story in all its gory details, failures, heartaches and mistakes with a riveting charisma, moving around a remarkable set by Daniel Williams. [More]
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Review by Adam Dodd 04th Sep 2016
First performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2013, Fleabag was awarded an Edinburgh Fringe First Award and earned its author, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a number of other accolades. As I watch this performance, it is obvious why. But it isn’t just the writing.
Fleabag demonstrates the excellence in each of the staged aspects of a production coming together and knocking an eager audience onto its collective arse. Intelligently crafted, bitingly funny, Fleabag punches with heart, guts and soul.
The play reveals the inner and outer turmoil of one woman, struggling in the wake of her best-friend’s death. It’s a solo-performance, interweaving recorded voices without mishap or missing a beat. It needs to be. Anyone else on stage would only distract from Fleabag; the demanding experiential reality of her.
Sophie Hambleton (2010 Chapman Tripp Actress of the Year) rocks this role. Her highly charged performance is both physically and emotively realised, delivered with honesty, humour and a touch of brutality. Flea is self-aware without coming across as self-conscious. She is vibrant, and wry, and sexy, all while capturing the goofy and grotesque truth of a person.
Author Waller-Bridgeonce said “playing bad people with a good heart is glorious”. Part of the beauty of the show is the humanity inherent in yearning for other people to be as bad as we feel. While the show isn’t very long (it runs at just about 70 minutes long without an interval), the story is rich and the humour can leave you paralysed with joy and wretchedness.
It’s in the twists though, surprising and raw, that Fleabag transforms from an entertaining series of anecdotes and bad behaviour to a poignant portrayal of an all-too-real member of modern society.
The staging for all this has an attitude and personality all of its own.
Throughout, Glenn Ashworth’s lighting and Kane Parsons’soundscape blend almost seamlessly, with each other and the action, heightening the scenes and conveying distinct atmosphere. It can be easy to overlook the impact these have but the payoff is fantastic, and at moments haunting.
Set and Costume Designer Daniel Williams captures Fleabag‘s apartment and café (guinea–pig–themed) while suggesting a London industrial club aesthetic. There are a number brilliant character-revealing details, as well as an intelligent use of levels and provision for varied and interesting avenues of movement around the stage.
One detail particularly strikes me: a bottle of vodka done up like a pet’s water dispenser. This inclusion makes me consider other aspects of the set and suddenly casts Flea’s staging as her cage; her frantic drive and questing is akin to that of a guinea pig looking for meaning, trapped in the confines of her life, her choices, her mistakes. This resonates well. One of the messages that Fleabag conveys is the idea that ‘people are all we got’ – everything else is baggage and confines.
While Fleabag might be considered vulgar by some sensibilities, it is impossible to honestly deny its intelligence or the humanity of the characters and events. Directed by Heather O’Carroll, brilliantly staged and performed, you would be doing yourself a disservice to miss this bitingly clever play.
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