Behind every powerful woman, is the younger version of herself showing how she got there and what she did with that power. Or at least, this is true in the case of HANDBAGGED, now playing at the MOXIE Theatre through November 17th.
Who knew that the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and the steely Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher would be so entertaining and funny? It’s what happens when two strong willed women who do not fully understand each other even when speaking the same language, have to work together.
In this play by Moira Buffini, the audience gets not one royal and prime minister, but two, as the more seasoned Queen Elizabeth II (Sandy Campbell) and Margaret Thatcher (Linda Libby) are often interacting, correcting or being corrected by, and reminiscing with their 1980’s younger selves Liz (Debra Wanger) and Mags (Lisel Gorell-Getz). Because why have two powerful women on stage when you could have four?
Campbell and Wanger give a very funny, and polished performances of the Queen, and her more polite way of successfully navigating tricky political circumstances. How using tools like genteel manners can be to help smooth things along, or a deliberately worded Christmas address to her subjects can express an opinion, demonstrating just how Elizabeth can effectively weld her power. Much humor is found in the Queen’s love of horses, dogs, and Balmoral.
Libby’s Thatcher has the unyielding and formidable bearing of the seasoned politician, and she packs a memory of a picnic with the Queen at Balmoral with a wealth of disdain and displeasure that is very funny. “It was more stressful than a NATO summit.” Gorell-Getz is the younger and ambitious, though no less strident, Thatcher who is baffled by the Queen on more than one occasion. Turns out that the only real kryptonite to both Thatcher is the memory of Ronald Regan, who they both sigh over.
Max Macke and Durwood Murray take on all of the male roles in this play, covering everyone from Ronald Regan (in an excellent impersonation) to Dennis Thatcher, and Neil Kinnock, etc…) These characters invite more discussion as they challenge our Queens and Prime Ministers to discuss events like the miners strikes, the protests, and the Falklands conflict.
A shout out to the entire ensemble and to the dialect coach Vanessa Dinning on the excellent accent work. Wanger and Campbell are excellent with the Queens incredibly specific accent, Libby and Gorell-Getz have Thatcher’s commanding tone, and Macke and Murray cover a wide assortment of accents to great comedic effect.
This play is a lively, and funny production; shining light on how history and perspective change depending on who is recounting it. Luckily, this play and the audience finds humor in this highly unique relationship.
HANDBAGGED is playing at MOXIE Theatre through November 17th. For ticket and show time information go to www.moxietheatre.com