(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/13)
What exactly was the relationship between Margaret Thatcher and the Queen during the former's premiership? Positively glacial according to Moira Buffini's Handbagged, one of nine short plays that make up this two-part exploration of women in politics, apportioned into Then and Now.
Buffini's work, hilarious and moving, dominates this typically ambitious Tricycle project. She cleverly splits her duelling protagonists into their older and younger selves. Mags and Liz have a spectacular fallout in the 80s. Liz wants to preserve the commonwealth at all costs, Mags calls it "a multiracial quango" and is incensed at the idea that sanctions should hit South Africa. Mags spits blood at the TV when Liz, in her Christmas broadcast, talks of "worldwide comradeship" and furiously asks whether the Queen is a socialist.
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