BWW Review: HANDBAGGED at 59E59 Presents a Fascinating Perspective of Recent British History
"I had to work so hard for my achievements, Her Majesty's were birthrights."
By Mags in Handbagged
The New York City premiere of Handbagged, written by Moira Buffini and directed by Indhu Rubasingham, is now on stage at 59E59 Theaters as part of Brits Off-Broadway. This unique, fascinating play captures elements of history and the stark differences between Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Thatcher, two women who have had great power to shape Great Britain and the world stage.
Handbagged imagines the meetings between Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who is known as "The Iron Lady," and Queen Elizabeth. Weekly discussions occurred at the castle for the eleven years that Thatcher held her office. Their discourse centered on subjects that ranged from the people and problems of their country to global events and leadership. In a clever format, four actresses appear on stage at the same time as the women's younger and older selves. The characters are clearly at odds. While The Queen maintains her poise and composure even when her humanitarian concerns are apparent, Thatcher is opinionated with her conservative and anti-socialist views. The show has just the right balance of humor, drama, and intellectual discourse.
The accomplished cast features Anita Carey as Q (Queen Elizabeth); Kate Fahy as T (Margaret Thatcher); Beth Hylton as Liz (the young Queen Elizabeth); Susan Lynskey as Mags (the young Margaret Thatcher); Cody LeRoy Wilson plays Actor 1; and John Lescault plays Actor 2. By interfacing the young and older portrayals of Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Thatcher, the show provides a compelling depiction of the two powerful women. Audiences will be certainly be impressed by the talents of Wilson and Lescault who deftly assume many roles to illuminate the lives of Margaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth.
The Creative Team has done a top job of bringing Handbagged to the stage. They include scenic and costume design by Richard Kent; lighting design by Jesse Belsky; sound design by Carolyn Downing; associate scenic and costume design by Rachel Stone; and associate sound design by Justin Schmitz. The Associate Director is Jennifer Bakst; the Production Stage Manager is Che Wernsman; and the Dramaturg is Gabrielle Hoyt.
Handbagged is a well crafted play that features fine performances and an intriguing perspective of British government and culture. With politics and global relationships in a constant state of flux, the production is timely with its perspective of differing ideologies. See it while it is on the Upper East Side stage.
Produced by Round House Theatre, Handbagged is at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison). It will be performed for a limited engagement through Sunday, June 30. The run time is two hours including one 15-minute intermission. The performance schedule is Tuesday - Friday at 7:00 PM; Saturday at 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM; and Sunday at 2:00 PM. Single tickets are $25 - $70 ($49 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call the 59E59 Box Office at 646-892-7999 or visit https://www.59e59.org/.
Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg