This spring Moira Buffini’s playful and satirical exploration of the relationship between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher comes to Oldham Coliseum. Handbagged uses great theatricality to imagine what went on in the private meetings between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher over the eleven year period from 1979 to 1990.
Handbagged, written in 2010, first started out as a one-act play – it was only later, in 2013, that it was expanded into a full-length work. At the time, Buffini was nervous about extending the show because, at the very same time, another play The Audience By Peter Morgan was also covering the relationship between Thatcher and the Queen. However, Handbagged became a complete West End hit and was nominated for the Best Comedy Award at the Olivier Awards in 2015.
Entertainingly told and iced generously with satirical humour, the monarch and Her most powerful subject collide as they give their opposing views of Britain’s role in the world. Obviously, no one really knows what did happen between the four walls of the weekly meetings between sovereign and minister, but Buffini constructs a completely credible conflict of values between radically different characters.
Comical, perceptive and beautifully performed, the play includes a supporting cast playing the roles of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Geoffrey Howe and Denis Thatcher amongst others. We recommend getting your tickets quick for Handbagged – incredibly funny, acute and slightly wicked.
The Coliseum presents Handbagged in co-production with Wiltshire Creative and York Theatre Royal. For those attending on the 23 May, there will be an opportunity to meet the cast after the show.