Rick @ 'HandBagged' - hard-earned “success”

What’s It About?

The Queen of England and the country’s first female Prime Minister look back on their reigns.

My Experience.

Okay, so first off, my thoughts before the show:

“I’m going to be seriously bored. A play about politics in England? I hated history growing up and I barely survived it in high school. Hell, I put off my history requirement until my final semester of my final year of college. But hey, the accents should be cool to listen to and I don’t mind trying new things. I’ll try to stay awake.”

Thoughts during the first 10 minutes:

“Okay, what exactly is going on? There are four women up there and I don’t get why. And two of them are talking smack about each other. Interesting.”

Thoughts two minutes later:

“OH, I GET IT NOW. The older women are just the older versions of the two younger women on stage, who will be reliving the stories the older women are telling. That’s SUCH a good way of telling this story. VERY creative.”

Thoughts as the show went on:

“Damnnnn. This show is way better than I thought! Yeah there’s a bunch of history lessons… but I’ve never learned about this before. I’m actually learning from two bickering women. And they’re pretty funny. I dig this.”

And that was pretty much my head space during this show. I ended up really, REALLY enjoying it. I can’t say I remember all the facts or if I even got all the references (I definitely didn’t. I wasn’t around during these times 1970s - 90s, I’m definitely not British and did I mentioned I suck at history?). But here’s what I got out of it:

What’s better: being born into prestige and power but being very down-to-earth, socially conscious and free-spirited OR being extremely hard-working, becoming successful on your own merits, achieving what almost no one on the earth achieves, but succumbing to ego and pride?

In other words: Do you want to be born into wealth and be less accomplished, or be highly successful yet arrogant?

If you’re contemplating that question and giving it some real thought, then you want to see this play, because it depicts just that.

Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minster of England aka the Iron Lady, bicker and gossip about each other, specifically: who was right or wrong, how they didn’t like each other, first impressions, regrets, great moments and all that good stuff. They do so matter-of-factly so it’s really funny. They have this disrespectful vibe to them, and they don’t seem to care. It’s both petty and seemingly unintentional.

After the first act, the second half gets a little more serious and sad. We watch multiple character attributes surface such as pride and ambition, and we get to see what happens when powerful leaders harness them for better or for worse.

The final act reveals what happens as Queen Elizabeth’s inherited status is contrasted with Thatcher’s hard-earned “success.” We clearly see two differing views on socialism and the state of society. Taxes, public assistance programs and other class concerns are explored. These are issues we’re still talking about today—in fact some might say it’s part of what’s spitting America into two groups of people *cough.*

While neither side was shown to be right or wrong, we do see how these beliefs motivate the decisions that Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth make. Despite being two powerful figures, it’s great to realize that they, like everyone else, struggle with morality, leadership and emotions. And just like us common folk, these struggles and how we CHOOSE to respond will lead to our success or downfall.

Anyway, the political tone of this show isn’t dreadful but super-entertaining. If I liked this history lesson then maybe you will, too. You might even learn a thing or two.



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