Some time ago, we promised to feature a series of “discoveries” in this column. The intention was to share one of the great pleasures of theatregoing at the same time as inspiring readers to spot stars of the future and then enjoy following their careers.

Any visit to a theatre should be built around a sense of great anticipation—otherwise why bother?

Many are attracted by star names and generally find their expectations fulfilled but rarely exceeded. However, there are also those occasions when we look forward to a pleasant night out and are blown away by something extraordinary. These are the times when you get home from the theatre (or even utilise social media before that) to start contacting all of your friends and tell them to rush along to … before all of the tickets sell out.

The sheer pleasure of Fleabag wasn’t a total revelation. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was already establishing herself as an actress, both on the London Fringe and in the West End. Being taller than average may have helped, but this actress patently had the kind of stage presence that is gifted to very few, instantly shining whether in modern plays by Jack Thorne or a classic Noël Coward revival.

When Miss Waller-Bridge announced her debut as a playwright ahead of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2013, few will have guessed that Fleabag would prove to be a sensation and change her life forever. To be fair to this critic, he was ahead of the game and had lined up an interview with the writer-performer before even seeing her solo show.

Sometimes, greatness is achieved in unlikely circumstances. With all due respect of those at Underbelly, their Cowgate venue can be dank and damp, although on the plus side, the programming is often extremely good. Even so, sitting in an audience of 30 or 40 people presents a level of intimacy that is hard to imagine when a show eventually makes it on to a West End stage.

In this unlikely venue, viewers were instantly gripped by a hilarious but also soul-rending script delivered with the expertise of a gifted natural. By the end of a performance running for less than an hour, few of those present could have been any doubt that they were in at the inception of something spectacular.

Even so, who would have imagined that one of numerous solo Fringe performances that year would not only make it into a small-scale West End venue but then on to a major West End stage (currently available to view on National Theatre at Home), before being transformed into a star-cast TV show that ran into two seasons? Recognition came generously with three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes and a British Academy Television Award.

While Fleabag may be taking a rest—it will almost certainly come back though not necessarily with Ms Waller-Bridge at the helm again—its progenitor and star has not looked back. The biggest fans of the original production could never have predicted that they were watching someone who would, within a few years, become a Hollywood star opposite Harrison Ford in a Raiders of the Lost Ark sequel, having already signed a contract to work on a James Bond movie script on the back of a major TV success with Killing Eve.

That is the pleasure of making theatrical discoveries and there are more to come.