Fleabag: The Special Edition

If you’re a fan of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag — and if you’ve seen it, I’m assuming you’re a fan, because it’s fabulous — you may want to check out this time capsule book.

Fleabag is a TV show, available in the US on Amazon Prime Video, that’s funny and true and raw and insightful and uncompromising. The first season (2016) is about the title character, otherwise unnamed and played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who also wrote it), coping with the loss of her best friend, her troubled relationship with her sister, and her soon-to-be stepmother.

There are two seasons of six half-hour episodes each, which makes it an easy binge — one season in an afternoon, or both in a day. You may have heard more about season 2 (2019, winner of six Emmys), which co-starred Andrew Scott (Sherlock‘s Moriarty) as the “hot priest”. He’s going to be officiating her father’s wedding, and she finds herself more involved than expected. There’s also a distinctive use of fourth-wall-breaking as the lead talks directly to the audience.

Fleabag: The Special Edition

Fleabag, though, was first a one-woman show (2013) at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Fleabag: The Special Edition reprints the play text with a number of extras.

  • An introduction by comedian Deborah Frances-White, who first invited Waller-Bridge to create the original monologue, while one by Waller-Bridge explains what she wanted to achieve with the play and then the TV show
  • A list of all the performances to date
  • A conversation with Waller-Bridge and Vicky Jones, who directed and helped develop the play
  • Various photos show rehearsals and poster shoots.

Reading the play for the first time can’t match seeing it, I’m sure. It was an interesting curiosity, as there’s a lot more in the TV series, obviously, but I found it useful to gain insight into the writer’s intentions and themes. And it well reminded me to watch and enjoy the show again. (The publisher provided a review copy.)

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