Saturday, September 24, 2016

Amazon Prime TV Review: Fleabag (2016)

Fleabag poster
Fleabag (2016) - Directed by Harry Bradbeer, Tim Kirkby; Written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge; Starring Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford, Olivia Colman, Brett Gelman, Jenny Rainsford, Bill Paterson, Ben Aldridge.

By Kenny Howell

Amazon brings another great voice from across the pond in this new series starring and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Fleabag was originally a one-woman play by Waller-Bridge, but she adapted it for the small screen for BBC Three in England. Amazon brought it stateside (much like they did with Catastrophe), and it is a good thing that they did. It is one of the better comedies of the year.

Waller-Bridge wrote all the episodes and plays the title character, a woman who is just a giant mess. She sleeps with anyone that shows her affection, and generally screws up most of her life situations, especially with her family. That family includes her godmother/stepmother played by Olivia Colman, who is astoundingly funny as a super judgmental woman who holds everything just below the surface with passive-aggressive insults. Fleabag is also running a failing cafe that houses some guinea pigs in the dining area To no one's surprise, that is also on its last legs.

Waller-Bridge breaks the fourth wall throughout the series, commenting on the action or carrying you through the story. She often mugs at the camera as well, which could have been hokey, but Waller-Bridge is so talented she knows how to show just enough to convey without it going over the top. This is essentially a comedy, and a very funny one at that, but something happens near the end of the first series that flips the way you have looked at it before. It's really quite ingenious, because Waller-Bridge makes you totally reassess everything that has been shown to you at that point. I am obviously not going to tell you what it is, but it really takes the series to another level, one that was already at a high level from the beginning.

You can watch the entire first series of Fleabag on Amazon Prime.

Rating: ***1/2

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