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Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag West End. 2019

What you need to know about the return of ‘Fleabag’

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s furiously filthy hit is coming to the West End. Here’s what you need to know

Written by
Alice Saville

I’ve already binge-watched the BBC telly series. Do I need to see it live?

No. Anymore than Fleabag needs to alienate her friends and family or scream through her ex-boyfriend’s letterbox. But it’s an unrivalled final chance to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge revisit her roots as a peddler of hilarious nihilistic filth on the London stage, before she gets sucked into the American screenwriting machine for good.

What should I expect?

No sexy priest (sorry). No sexy therapist (also sorry). But you do get to be eyeball-to-eyeball with Waller-Bridge herself. First performed in 2013, the stage version of ‘Fleabag’ takes cues from stand-up, with sections that get improvised fresh every night. It’s also more messed up than the telly series: the wanking-to-an-Obama-speech scene isn’t the half of it. There’s also an unforgettably horrible poo story that, for better or worse, did not make it to the telly.

Isn’t it completely sold out?

Technically yes. But a weekly lottery makes 50 tickets available for each night for just £15. Download the TodayTix app to score yours.

But I never get lucky.

If you don’t mind doing it standing up, limited numbers of non-seated £10 tickets are available from the box office at 10am the morning of each performance – get there at sparrow fart to be in with a chance.

I’m not sure my hangover will let me.

Don’t worry, it’s also getting an NT Live screening on  September 12. And cinemas being a bit more laidback then yer average theatre, you can dash in late with a sneaky box of wine and a lover whose name you can’t remember – it’s what Fleabag would have wanted.

What if it gives me an insatiable hunger for witty, warts-and-all female-led theatre?

Glad you asked. Since Waller-Bridge’s creation broke out, every female solo artist and her guinea pig has been hailed as ‘the new Fleabag’. Check out Cora Bissett’s play about being a teen rock star, ‘What Girls Are Made Of’ (Soho Theatre, September 9-28). Caroline Horton’s ‘All of Me’ is a brilliant depression narrative (The Yard, September 10-28). Or try Jackie Kay’s coming-out story ‘Chiaroscuro’ (Bush Theatre, August 28-October 5).

What’s next for Fleabag?

Waller-Bridge is currently working on HBO series ‘Run’. In a recent interview she said she likes the idea of revisiting Fleabag when she’s ‘like, 45 or 50’. But this West End show is its official swansong – albeit one with feathers as mucky as a Soho pigeon. You know what to do.

‘Fleabag’ is at Wyndham’s Theatre until Sep 14.

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