NT LIVE: FLEABAG ENCORE

★★★★★

NATIONAL THEATRE BRINGS WALLER-BRIDGE'S SHOW BACK TO THE BIG SCREEN

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Chris Dos Santos
13th July 2023

It's often debated whether theatre should be filmed - does it preserve the art form or "cheapen" it? This debate was had recently with 'Hamilton'. Would a filmed version hurt future ticket sales - well, for 'Hamilton', no, it just finished up an extremely successful run across Australia and New Zealand and is still a smash hit on Broadway. Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda stated that more people will watch the recording on Disney+ in the first weekend then saw the original cast perform it on Broadway, meaning that film just has such a bigger reach and impact. As for the argument of cheapening the art form, well no, theatre is an incredibly expensive art form so most people can't get to experience it and filming it is sometimes the only way - especially international viewers - to get to be in the room where it happens. Also, filming theatre helps preserve the art form; nothing beats seeing it live, but having shows that will never be performed again in high-quality recordings is magical.

SWITCH: 'NT LIVE: FLEABAG' TRAILER

'Fleabag' is a one-woman show starring and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The show documents a few days in her life as she is still processing the loss of her best friend a year earlier while she has to close down the business they started together. We get to go on dates, hook-ups, job interviews and feminist talks. She discusses her sex life and all the trials and tribulations of her life in an intimate empty set with a single chair.

'Fleabag's' success and power is no secret, both on stage and in the show; it's an extremely funny and emotional piece. The balancing act of the two is truly masterful, and even consuming the show numerous times the impact is never lessened. Fleabag is an extremely relatable and real character. Without the flair that TV can bring, the stage version feels even more intimate.

Fleabag is an extremely relatable and real character. Without the flair that TV can bring, the stage version feels even more intimate.

As someone who knows the show inside and out, it was extremely interesting to see the seeds that were planted here. While the two mediums have their differences because of not only how the show is staged, getting to see it on the big screen only made it feel so much more raw and the emotional elements feel even grander.

'Fleabag' is one of the greatest pieces of media in the 21st century, and Waller-Bridge's talent will continue to create an impact for decades to come. The stage version is a masterpiece work of theatre, and it's absolutely delightful that we are blessed with this beautiful recording. Whether you're unfamiliar with the show or consumed it over and over again, run out and experience this brilliant work on the big screen.

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