Phoebe Waller-Bridge Warns ‘Fleabag’ Fans the Streaming Stage Show Is ‘Ruder’ and ‘Weirder’

Fleabag fans waited three years for season 2 of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Amazon series. After that, fans wanted a third season, but so far Waller-Bridge is against doing it. But, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic required people around the world to stay home, Waller-Bridge thought of a way to give people more Fleabag.

Phoebe Waller Bridge: Fleabag premiere
Phoebe Waller-Bridge | Todd Williamson/January Images

A video of Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show of Fleabag is streaming on Amazon Prime in the U.S. and Soho Theater On Demand in Canada. Proceeds from VOD rentals go to support coronavirus relief and theater charities, while performing venues are on hiatus, putting people out of work. Waller-Bridge appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert from her London bedroom via video chat on April 16 to discuss it. Fleabag premiered April 10 on Amazon Prime and will be available until April 24.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge explains the difference between ‘Fleabag’ on stage and screen

Waller-Bridge based the TV show on her play, but adapted it for a different medium. Therefore, fans of the two seasons of Fleabag may be in for a bit of a shock when they see the original stage show.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Phoebe Waller-Bridge | Todd Williamson/January Images

“It’s a slightly different experience from the TV show because it’s a one woman show,” Waller-Bridge told Colbert. “So it’s a 70 minute monologue by me if you can bear it. It’s basically the origins of the TV show [and] it’s a little bit darker, a little bit weirder, a little bit ruder.”

How Phoebe Waller-Bridge gets even weirder and ruder on stage 

Waller-Bridge’s character calls herself Fleabag. On the show she talks to the audience and turns to the camera as she navigates her friend’s death, an affair with her sister (Sian Clifford)’s husband (Brett Gelman) and sexual feelings for a hot priest (Andrew Scott). What could be weirder and ruder than that?

“It really delves into the psychology more because it’s a monologue. There’s a lot more of her point of view and the harsher perspective she has on the world. She’s very sexually candid but she uses it in a way to control the energy in the room.”

Waller-Bridge says Fleabag comes across more playfully in the series than she did on stage.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge | Steve Schofield/Amazon

“It had a cheekier element to it in the TV show,” Waller-Bridge continued. “It’s all tied into her own psychology and her own lack of worth and all that. In the show she’s much spikier so her perspectives on the world and on people and she believes everybody values her and everyone else by how attractive they are.”

One more thing about ‘Fleabag’ on stage

One vice of Fleabag’s didn’t make it into the show. That could be a dealbreaker for some audiences.

Fleabag and Hot Priest
Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Andrew Scott | Steve Schofield/Amazon

“She’s a porn addict,” Waller-Bridge said. “You find out a lot more about the darker corners of her psychology. There’s a couple more uncomfortable events that happen to other characters in the show at the end, one in particular. So, if you want to enjoy that…”

The one performance of ‘Fleabag’ on stage you will be watching

One of the joys of theater is it’s live every night. No two performances are exactly the same, but there is only one recording of Fleabag. This is the one available for rent.

We had in our back pocket the National Theater Live recording of the play in the West End last year. That was actually screened into some cinemas but hasn’t ever been on TV and has never been able to be streamed or whatever. Everyone waived their fees, all the producers got involved, Amazon came on board and SoHo Theater On Demand. Soho Theater is where the play first started. We’ve now managed to put the show online, this one off recorded performance, online to be streamed.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, 4/16/2020