Thoroughly modern Maddie

maddie rice

Fleabag

Birmingham Rep, Door

****

IN A thoughtful and stirring account of what it means to be a modern woman, Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge seeks to find the meaning of feminism today by asking what it means to be a feminist via a snapshot of a young woman’s frenzied, yet perfectly normal life.

Waller-Bridge presents her views in a classic no holds barred style. Along with the marvellous direction by Vicky Jones, this funny depiction of everyday life breathes encouragement to women everywhere.

In this one woman show, the audience are introduced and quickly get to know the nameless woman, played by Maddie Rice on an exceptionally intimate level. The talented writer makes sure her thoughts are clearly heard. She provokes a suggestive cause for pleasant debate about women, but most importantly, their freedom of choice in today’s modern world.

Waller-Bridge’s refreshing and endearing opinions shine through with a ground-breaking script. Throughout the piece, there is a constant element of pride for the ability of people to make their own decisions.

This is wonderfully portrayed by the excellent Maddie Rice. The deeper questions that Waller-Bridge allows the audience to answer for themselves are how far these thoughts are agreed with.

The women and of course men of the audience see a character that is instantly relatable. With a great technique of storytelling, Waller-Bridge presents a character of extreme vulnerability, willing to admit past mistakes and even the consequences. This raw human emotion connects the audience and performer on a truly intimate level, thus allowing the writer’s thoughts to be deeply digested.

As a performer, Rice gives a deeply personal account of a complex modern woman. With a plethora of stories ranging from funny to the emotionally charged, Rice’s appliance towards the character is a stunning reflection of how Waller-Bridge wants the audience to see the ways in which the woman lives her life.

The beauty of this portrayal shows that there is no ‘typical woman’ in this world. The play gives way to accepting this fact, no matter what actions a woman may decide to take.
Rice presents her talents as a performer by giving the audience this solo rendition of the young woman. For sixty minutes, we are drawn in and completely engaged with her life stories, whilst contemplating in the back of our minds what feminism means to us as modern individuals of the twenty first century. Rice is a pleasure to watch.

All in all, the piece makes a stunning point with excellent writing and a sheer host of talent, with Waller-Bridges stellar writing and Rice’s colourful approach to character. It is indeed absolutely relevant to any audience because we can allow the piece to nurture in our own minds.

 It asks what is feminism and what does it mean to us as individuals? There is no one definite answer, but there certainly is the strong suggestion of us all having the rightful power to do as we please with the situation we have. To 17-01-15

Elizabeth Halpin

14-01-15 

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