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Handbagged

Published April 11, 2014

What’s it all about?

One can tell you that this is a play about the monarch and the first female Prime Minister of our country. One can witness throughout the course of the production the imagined conversations said powerful women had during the Iron Lady’s time in government. One must add that one actress is not sufficient to represent each of the British icons in their entirety and therefore two actresses play both Margaret Thatcher and The Queen in different periods of their lives, bickering their way through everything from the Falklands War to whether or not the show should have an interval.

Who’s in it?

Marion Bailey is mesmerising in the role of the older Elizabeth II, capturing the mannerisms and elocution of the monarch with unbelievable accuracy. Her younger self, played beautifully by Lucy Robinson, is just as well-spoken, while Stella Gonet and Fenella Woolgar, as old and young versions of Thatcher, have got the posture of the late Prime Minister down to a tee. There is also great comic support from the two male performers – Neet Mohan and Jeff Rawle – who take on a plethora of accents to portray everyone from Neil Kinnock to Nancy Regan.

What should I look out for?

The wonderful juxtaposition of dialogue that sees “I Wikied the 80s” followed in seconds by “One’s Christmas speech”.

Who was in the press night crowd?

Meera Syal, Gemma Jones, John Humphrys, Harriet Walker, Indhu Rubasingham, Christine and Neil Hamilton, Sarah Hadland, Mark Watson, Dominic Cooke, Nancy Dell’Olio… I think it’s fair to say there were a few familiar faces.

In a nutshell?

Two of Britain’s most iconic women are brought to life on stage in performances as impeccable as Her Majesty’s English accent.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@TKTSLondon We loved @handbagged last night. Cracking performances, very funny and surprisingly moving in places.

@samuelmcadamson .@TricycleTheatre’s @handbagged even better in the West End. Brilliantly orchestrated by that there Atlantic-hopping @IRubasingham.

Will I like it?

Bailey’s performance alone should have crowds flocking to the Vaudeville Theatre. Her gestures and facial expressions perfectly replicate those of our treasured royal and as a result it is almost impossible to take your eyes off her. With references that will amuse both young and old, this Tricycle Theatre production is likely to be enjoyed by many a theatregoer over the coming months, and you might learn a thing or two about English history to boot.

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