You’re 34. You’ve had a sitcom on Channel 4 and a knockout comedy drama on BBC. This gets you lead writer on a spy thriller – even more of a smash. Everything you touch wins awards. You co-write the new Bond film. You voice a droid on a Star Wars movie.
What next? You could have your pick of the best producers, directors and budgets.
And great actors. Like Olivia Coleman, Kristen Scott Thomas, Bill Paterson and Andrew Scott (the hot priest), from Fleabag. Or Jodie Comer, Sandra Oh, Fiona Shaw and Kim Bodnia (Killing Eve). Or – No Time to Die – Naomie Harris, Rami Malek and Ralph Fiennes.
Go solo. Back to where it all began. Just you, alone. Live on stage.
That’s what I saw at Glasgow Cineworld last Thursday, broadcast live from Wyndham’s Theatre, London.
Packed crowds in hundreds of cinemas could hear the theatre audience as they buzzed excitedly into the full house.
Then, sans fanfare, she walked on, crew-neck sweater and a pair of jeans, and pamped herself on a high stool, centre-stage.
And she was off. 85 minutes about a self-centred, libidinous woman dodging a minefield of family, friends and sexual partners whilst she holds on to a failing guinea pig café.
It’s the café that’s failing, not the guinea pig. Well, not until it gets soundly kicked and might, like Fleabag’s best friend, shuffle off this mortal coil. Many of the core ideas from the TV series are here (though no hot priest).
This was the start of it all – a 2013 Fringe First one-woman play. Though the credits list is now as long as a movie’s, it’s very simply staged, lit and shot.
Another smart move – Fleabag Unplugged.
by Paul Bassett, Glasgow, September 2019.
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