Last updated

Handbagged is a play by the British playwright Moira Buffini, examining the relationship between Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister from 1979 to 1990. It originated in 2010 as a one act play, [1] with the younger Thatcher played by Claire Cox and the elder by Stella Gonet, as part of the Tricycle Theatre's Women, Power and Politics festival. The title derives from the verb coined [2] early in Margaret Thatcher’s term to evoke the effects emanating from her personal handbag as it became an emphatic political prop and visible symbol of her power.

Conversion to full-length production

The extended version premiered in October 2013 at the Tricycle. [3]

In April 2014 the play transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre in London's West End, due to run until August 2014. [4] The cast of this production was: [1]

The play toured the UK from September to December 2015 starring Susie Blake and Kate Fahy, with the younger queen portrayed by Emma Handy. It visited Canterbury, Salford, Guildford, Oxford, Coventry, Cambridge, Nottingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Edinburgh, Norwich, Cheltenham, [5] [6] Richmond, Cambridge [7] and Bath. [8] [9]

Related Research Articles

<i>A Streetcar Named Desire</i> 1947 play by Tennessee Williams

A Streetcar Named Desire is a play written by Tennessee Williams that was first performed on Broadway on December 3, 1947. The play dramatizes the experiences of Blanche DuBois, a former Southern belle who, after encountering a series of personal losses, leaves behind her privileged background to move into a shabby apartment in New Orleans that her younger sister and brother-in-law have rented.

Samuel West British actor and director

Samuel Alexander Joseph West is an English actor, theatre director and voice actor. He has directed on stage and radio, and worked as an actor across theatre, film, television and radio. He often appears as reciter with orchestras and performed at the Last Night of the Proms in 2002. He has narrated several documentary series, including five for the BBC about the Second World War.

Stella Gonet is a Scottish theatre, film and television actress. She is known for her roles in the BBC dramas The House of Eliott (1991–94) and Holby City (2007–09). Her stage credits include playing Ophelia in the 1989 National Theatre revival of Hamlet, opposite both Daniel Day-Lewis and Ian Charleston as Hamlet, and playing Margaret Thatcher in the original West End production of Handbagged (2014).

Greta Scacchi Italian-Australian actress

Greta Scacchi, OMRI is an Italian–Australian actress. She holds dual Italian and Australian citizenship. She is best known for her roles in the films White Mischief (1987), Presumed Innocent (1990), The Player (1992), Emma (1996) and Looking for Alibrandi (2000).

Vaudeville Theatre

The Vaudeville Theatre is a West End theatre on the Strand in the City of Westminster. As the name suggests, the theatre held mostly vaudeville shows and musical revues in its early days. It opened in 1870 and was rebuilt twice, although each new building retained elements of the previous structure. The current building opened in 1926, and the capacity is now 690 seats. Rare thunder drum and lightning sheets, together with other early stage mechanisms, survive in the theatre.

Kiln Theatre

The Kiln Theatre is a theatre located in Kilburn, in the London Borough of Brent, England. Since 1980, the theatre has presented a wide range of plays reflecting the cultural diversity of the area, as well as new writing, political work and verbatim reconstructions of public inquiries.

Susie Blake is an English television, radio and stage actress.

Lucy Robinson is a British actress working mostly in television.

Clare Margaret Holman is an English actress. She portrayed forensic pathologist Dr. Laura Hobson in the crime drama series Inspector Morse and its spin-off Lewis from 1995 to 2015.

Hattie Morahan English television, film, and stage actress

Harriet Jane Morahan is an English television, radio, film, and stage actor. Her roles include Alice in The Bletchley Circle, Gale Benson in The Bank Job (2008), Ann in Mr. Holmes (2015), Rose Coyne in My Mother and Other Strangers (2016), and Agathe/The Enchantress in Beauty and the Beast (2017).

Fenella Woolgar is an English film, theatre, television and radio actress. She is known for her roles in the films Bright Young Things (2003) and Judy (2019).

<i>Skylight</i> (play)

Skylight is a play by British dramatist David Hare. The play premiered in the West End at the Cottesloe Theatre in 1995, moving to the Wyndham's Theatre in 1996. After opening on Broadway in 1996, it played again in the West End in 1997 at the Vaudeville Theatre. It was revived at Wyndham's Theatre in the West End in 2014, and that production transferred to Broadway in 2015.

Stepping Out is a play written by Richard Harris in 1984. It was produced in the West End, London, where it received the Evening Standard Comedy of the Year Award, and on Broadway, New York.

Marion Bailey is an English actress. She is best known for her work with her partner, filmmaker Mike Leigh, including the films Meantime (1983), All or Nothing (2002), Vera Drake (2004), Mr. Turner (2014), for which she was nominated Supporting Actress of the Year by the London Film Critics' Circle, and most recently Peterloo (2018). More recently, in 2019 and 2020, she has portrayed Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in the third and fourth seasons of The Crown on Netflix.

Cultural depictions of Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. Her portrayal in the arts and popular culture has been mixed. In the words of one critic she attracted "musical opprobrium like no other British political leader". Such opinion is divergent from mainstream opinion polling which tends to place her as the most popular British prime minister since Winston Churchill.

Indhu Rubasingham,, is an English theatre director and the current artistic director of the Kiln Theatre in Kilburn, London.

<i>The Audience</i> (2013 play)

The Audience is a play by the British playwright and screenwriter Peter Morgan. The play centres on weekly meetings, called audiences, between Queen Elizabeth II, originally played by Dame Helen Mirren, and her prime ministers and premiered in the West End in 2013, at the Gielgud Theatre. A Broadway production opened in 2015, also starring Mirren. A West End revival played in London in 2015 starring Dame Kristin Scott Thomas in the lead role.

Emma Handy is a British actress best known for her West End stage work and her role as DC Paula McIntyre in the ITV1 award-winning drama series Wire in the Blood in which she appeared for five series.

Jill Martin was an English actress and singer who made her career in West End theatre from the 1950 to the 2000s. Born in Redruth, Cornwall, she was educated at The Lawn School at St Austell and a song teacher at the school believed her to have an opera singer's voice. Martin debuted in the theatre in 1950 and was an understudy to several actresses. She was the only actor to appear in all three runs of My Fair Lady and produced a studio cast recording in 1966. Other musicals that Martin portrayed characters in were Fiddler on the Roof,Side by Side by Sondheim, The Baker's Wife,Les Misérables and Allegro.

<i>The Crown</i> (season 4) season of television series

The fourth season of The Crown, which follows the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, was released by Netflix on 15 November 2020.


  1. 1 2 'Handbagged' programme. Vaudeville Theatre.
  2. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/handbag
  3. Billington, Michael (2 October 2013). "Handbagged – review" . Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  4. Mitford, Oliver (9 May 2014). "Handbagged Review" . Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  5. "The arts diary: Handbagged, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham" Archived 2015-11-22 at the Wayback Machine . Gloucestershire Echo November 17, 2015
  6. "Queen at 90: How Elizabeth II is portrayed on stage and screen". By Lauren Turner BBC News, 21 April 2016
  7. "Review: Handbagged at Cambridge Arts Theatre" [ permanent dead link ]. Cambridge News, By LydiaFallon. October 13, 2015
  8. "Handbagged review: Susie Blake and Emma Handy star in the comedy at the Theatre Royal". ChronicleLive Oct 27, 2015
  9. "Handbagged review at Theatre Royal, Bath" Archived 2015-12-14 at the Wayback Machine . Bath Chronicle, December 01,