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A younger Maggie listened to by the older Queen in Handbagged!

A younger Maggie listened to by the older Queen in Handbagged!


at the Theatre Royal, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 12 November 2015

Handbagged? Well, The Audience featuring the imaginary conversations between The Queen and her 12 Prime Ministers in their weekly meetings has already been a stage hit. Now it’s just Her Majesty and Mrs Thatcher.

Liz versus Maggie, two powerful women born in the same year is a comedy that speculates what these two women, these icons of power in different ways actually talked about in private. Or they might have done.

Critically acclaimed as witty, confident, mischievous and clever it’s ‘tea at four, handbags at dawn’ subtly moving from slapstick to the real stuffing of life as the women look back on their younger selves in what could have become a history lesson but is priceless theatre.

Moira Buffini’s West End hit is on tour and the Theatre Royal rocked at the astutely drawn comedy, the human frailties and the strengths of characters embodied in these women.

We follow though high and low lights of the Iron Lady’s three terms, her eleven years in No10 with the dangerous and terrifying Brighton bomb as an emotional climax. The treachery of those closest to her that ended her reign was movingly handled.

The funniest asides are from the older Queen, yet each of the women, young or old are sharp, on point and spectacular. Support from multiroling Denis Thatcher, Ronald Regan and Nancy (played by a man) and Rupert Murdoch and Geoffrey Howe among many are superb cameos.

We love laughing at public figures for the right and wrong reasons. This play is set to join the pantheon of richly comic yet beautifully poignant political comedy for years to come.

Try and see Handbagged, whether you remember the era or not. You will be royally entertained.

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