Two enduring icons born six moths apart. One destined to rule, the other elected to lead. But when the stiff upper lip softened and the gloves came off, which one had the upper hand?

Handbagged is the 'wickedly funny' (Evening Standard) new play that opens the clasp on the relationship between two giants of the 20th Century.

Moira Buffini's 'irresistibly mischievous' (The Independent) comedy speculates on that most provocative of questions: What did the world's most powerful women talk about behind closed palace doors?

The Tricycle Theatre's acclaimed production comes to the West End in 2014.

Nominated for BEST NEW COMEDY (Whatsonstage Awards) and featured in Time Out's Best Theatre Shows of the year.
"Six months ago, when I first saw Handbagged at the Tricyle Theatre in Kilburn, I said that if there's any justice in this world, Moira Buffini's funny, insightful and beautifully acted play about Margaret Thatcher"s relationship with the Queen would be granted a West End transfer. Seeing a show a second time is normally when the joins become apparent and the minutes tick by more slowly: with this one, I found myself appreciating its brilliance all the more. It remains a phenomenon. The first thing to say is that, unlike Peter Morgan's The Audience, it is no mere piece of agitprop. At times, it castigates the former prime minister. At other times, it pays moving and heartfelt tribute to her. At all times, it never loses sight of her humanity. This is a fresh, exciting and intelligent piece of theatre that cries out for your support."
Tim Walker, The Telegraph ★★★★★

"Moira Buffini's witty and confident conjectural take on the weekly meetings between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher during the 11 years of the latter's premiership was outstanding when it opened at the Tricycle last autumn. Now, given room to breathe in a bigger West End theatre, it's even more cherishable. In a wonderfully playful conceit, Buffini provides a pair of actresses, one older and one younger, to portray each of these two very different women of exactly the same age, who found themselves thrown together by the quirks of democracy and hereditary monarchy. These two "selves" interact with and contradict each other and, delightfully, all four versions often turn out to be unreliable narrators, in Indhu Rubasingham's notably accomplished production. The two stand-out turns come from Marion Bailey as the older Queen, determinedly enjoying a spot of mischief after a lifetime of non-committal silence, and a pitch-perfect Fenella Woolgar, in full command of Thatcher's infuriatingly imperious eye blink. Buffini also enjoys considerable self-referential fun with the very idea of this being a play. Q and T argue about whether the piece should have an interval; T, naturally, is all for batting on doggedly without a break."
Fiona Mountford, London Evening Standard ★★★★★

"This is an evening of twinkling meta-theatre larkiness. There are always two Queens and Thatchers on stage: older and young versions who occasionally disagree. In lesser hands this might prove irritating, but Buffini and director Indhu Rubasingham handle it with such delicate wit that this titanic struggle between two women of different backgrounds but of similar ages - both shaped by fathers they adored - becomes fascinating and affecting. There are times when it feels like a slightly over-extended sketch, but it's a high-spirited and shrewd one. Make no mistake, this is not a less starry version of The Audience. Marion Bailey and Lucy Robinson as Elizabeth, and Stella Gonet and Fenella Woolgar as Margaret make quite sure of that. It's a show that cleverly explores the nature of history. Casting Neet Mohan and Jeff Rawle in all the smaller roles (Thatcher becomes incandescent with rage when Rawle's Denis morphs into Lord Carrington) reminds us that, while we remember the great events of our time, they tell us nothing about the everyday lives affected by the decisions of those in power." Lyn Gardner, The Guardian ★★★★

Moira Buffini's Handbagged is to transfer from The Tricycle Theatre to the West End this spring.

This "wickedly funny" (Evening Standard) new play opens the clasp on the relationship between two giants of the 20th century, the Queen and Margaret Thatcher, and speculates on that most provocative of questions: What did the world's most powerful women talk about behind closed palace doors?

It opened at the Kilburn venue in September 2013, and was nominated for Best New Comedy at the Whatsonstage Awards. The Metro called it "A clever, mischievous pleasure with the sharp teeth of a kicked corgi."

Handbagged begins previews at the Vaudeville Theatre from 3 April 2014, following the current political comedy The Duck House, and is booking until 2 August.

No images to
Type of production: Comedy

Opened: 03 April 2014

Booking until: 02 August 2014

Running time: 2 Hours 10 Mins

Prices: £26.00 - £97.00

Author / playwright: Moira Buffini

Director: Indhu Rubasingham