Bring a hankie… the Queen’s back for a ding-dong with Maggie: PATRICK MARMION reviews Handbagged

Handbagged (Kiln Theatre, London)

Rating: ***

Verdict: Queen of all she surveys

Coming in the middle of our national mourning, the press night of the revival of this satirical comedy — about the 11 years of audiences at Buckingham Palace between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher — began with a painfully awkward apology.

Heart obviously in mouth, lest she be hanged, drawn and quartered for appearing to snigger at our late monarch, the Kiln’s artistic director Indhu Rubasingham nervously assured us that she and her colleagues had given ‘deep consideration’ to whether or not to go ahead with Moira Buffini’s play.

She explained that the show had been planned a year before its opening, to coincide with the Platinum Jubilee. They couldn’t have known what was coming.

And in a rare outbreak of royalism in the formerly Irish Republican stronghold of Kilburn High Road, we were asked to share a minute’s silence.

Ironically, something similar happened at the play’s premiere in 2013 — just a few months after Mrs Thatcher had died. The satirical focus then fell on the former PM; and many thought the play was in poor taste — nor was Lady Thatcher offered the consolation of a minute’s silence.

Happily, this time, it turns out to be nothing less than an unexpected and moving joy to see our Queen live again, in a play that shares her alleged impatience with a Prime Minister she’s said to have referred to as ‘that bloody woman’.

The phrase may be wishful thinking on Buffini’s part. We won’t know the Queen’s exact thoughts about Mrs T until her private journals are opened, in another lifetime.

Buffini makes much of Mrs Thatcher’s faith in free-market individualism and opposes it with the Queen’s Christian faith in ‘inter-dependence not nationalism’ and ‘Commonwealth not Empire’ — quoting Elizabeth from a Christmas speech.

Rubasingham’s production also sees to it that the anti- Thatcher satirical medicine is heavily sugar-coated by Dead Ringer impersonations.

But, pitch-perfect as the actors are, the play’s format of successive audiences does grow predictable — even with extra characters including Ronald Reagan, Rupert Murdoch, Enoch Powell and Arthur Scargill.

Both Maggie and the Queen are played simultaneously by older and younger versions of themselves, who freely interrupt each other’s thoughts. All four are craftily dressed in subtle shades of red, white and blue, and the only thing they have in common is a patent leather handbag on one arm.

Naomi Frederick has shrill fun sending up a younger Maggie, who lauds democracy and rails against socialism (a word she practically retches). Kate Fahy’s older Iron Lady gets to growl about ‘wets’ and extol Victorian values. Both versions of the former Baroness are contentedly deranged.

Mercifully, both versions of the late Queen exude the good sense and human warmth we all miss.

Abigail Cruttenden is a particular delight as the girlish younger ‘Liz’, who loves a gossip and is perplexed by Mrs T’s venom.

Marion Bailey as the older and wiser ‘Q’ is saddened her hopes for national reconciliation may be slipping away. Bring a tissue.

The Glass Menagerie (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester)

Verdict: Magical menagerie

Rating: ****

An elderly couple walked out within ten minutes of the start of this radical make-over of Tennessee Williams’ saddest and most autobiographical play about his disabled sister and anxious mother.

But if you can give the benefit of a doubt to Atri Banerjee’s production starring Geraldine Somerville, it will reward your faith handsomely. It did mine.

Rosana Vize’s set is the first thing to balk at. There is none of the usual murky period clutter. Instead, we have a glossy white institutional floor with the feel of a psychiatric day room.

A huge beam swoops overhead with ‘PARADISE’ spelt in neon capitals — an idea nicked from an art work by Martin Creed, in which a similar swinging beam bearing the word ‘MOTHERS’ threatens to poleaxe the viewer.

Nor is the mother (Somerville) the usual domestic psycho. Dressed in greyish pink blouse and skirt, she has a ghostly look and haunts the stage as a single woman, desperate to save her children from the lifetime of regret that has afflicted her.

Rhiannon Clements as her daughter, Laura, is similarly wounded rather than disturbed; and has retreated into a private silo of fragile hope, symbolised by her titular trinkets.

Joshua James, as her brother Tom, is weighed down with guilt and the need to escape his family — but he also shows great love and tenderness. All of which raises the stakes for Eloka Ivo as the gentleman caller who might rescue Laura.

It is, of course, inconceivable that a black man could have been such a suitor in the segregated Southern States of 1944, but Ivo’s blokeish, boyish and sweetly gallant performance rescues the play from that historical strait-jacket.

Giles Thomas’s music is no less haunting — sometimes a long single tone, at others a whisper of cello. But there is also the jolting anachronism of Whitney Houston’s One Moment In Time in a climactic fantasy of escape.

It sharply updates the play but, to my mind at least, saves it from gathering dust as a comfortable antique.

Some may consider it vandalism. I could have been one, but I wasn’t. I left greatly moved.

Love All (Jermyn Street Theatre, London)

Verdict: Girls on top

Rating: ****

By Georgina Brown

Best known as a Queen of Crime and for her creation of Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy L. Sayers was also a talented playwright.

Love All, unseen (until now) since it premiered in 1940, is not a lost masterpiece, but it is an overlooked little sparkler, nailing the unfair and unequal career prospects of men and women and wittily celebrating girl power, decades ahead of its time.

When middle-aged romantic novelist Godfrey Daybrook persuaded Lydia, an actress and his mistress, to run off to Venice, she was expecting him to divorce his wife and put a ring on her finger.

Some 18 months later, Emily Barber’s deliciously spoilt, pert, over-privileged Lydia is still single — and sweltering prettily in a flat on a stinking Venetian canal, lamenting the loss of her reputation, her work, and her looks. Actually, she is bored rigid playing the muse to Alan Cox’s vain, patronising, complacent Godfrey, the only role a woman could and should aspire to, in his opinion. Just as he thinks his wife’s job is to bring up the son he abandoned.

Some of the lines have the epigrammatic snap, crackle and pop of Noel Coward or Oscar Wilde. ‘You never know what’s going on inside a secretary. They have meaningless faces, like eggs,’ says Lydia. ‘Every great man has had a woman behind him — and every great woman has had a man in front of her, tripping her up,’ says Godfrey’s wife Edith (Leah Whitaker).

Both are neatly illustrated by the plot, in which the much underestimated women in Godfrey’s life — his wife who has become a playwright, his super-sharp secretary and his lover — first puncture his pomposity and then run rings round him, ultimately rendering him irrelevant.

Period-perfect performances give Tom Littler’s swansong production terrific slice and bite. He’s off to run the Orange Tree in Richmond, leaving London’s tiniest West End theatre — and large shoes to fill.

Who Killed My Father (Young Vic, London)

Verdict: Colossal performance

Rating: ****

In Who Killed My Father, which comes to an end at the Young Vic tomorrow night after a brief run, it’s as if Rodin’s huge stone sculpture of The Thinker had swayed to its feet and begun muttering in a Dutch accent. Such is the power of Hans Kesting’s extraordinary performance that I count it is as one of the most spellbinding turns I’ve ever witnessed on stage.

Adapted and directed by avant garde director Ivo van Hove, the play — about a man visiting his dying, working-class father in an industrial backwater of Northern France — is based on a semi-autobiographical book by Edouard Louis.

Kesting plays both the gay son and the self-destructive father, and bleak as the story is, his raw stage presence blew me away. He is a shaven-headed caveman, in a huge blue cable knit jumper, baggy jeans and a pair of cheap trainers, collapsing under his adamantine superstructure.

In the end, Who Killed My Father dwindles into a clumsy call to revolution — but Kesting’s performance is simply colossal.

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  • 43 минуты назад 03.10.2022Showbiz
    Country singer Hardy and several touring crew members injured in a bus crash

    Country music singer Hardy is on the mend along with three touring crew members and their bus driver after the bus they were in got into an accident.

    While no details of the accident were given, the 32-year-old singer (born Michael Wilson Hardy) said in a social media post on Sunday morning that the accident happened on Saturday night.

    The accident happened after Hardy performed at the Country Thunder festival at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN, which caused ‘significant injuries’ for the singer and his team.

    ‘Following last night’s show, our tour bus was in an accident on our way home from Bristol,’ Hardy’s statement began.

    ‘There were just four of us, including myself, on the bus, however we were all treated for significant injuries,’ he added, though he did not specify anything else about any of the injuries.

    ‘Our friend, and bus driver needs your prayers as he is still in the hospital. His family is with him as he is being treated and we’re all pulling and praying for him,’ he said.

    The singer confirmed he’s been, ‘released from the hospital, but ordered ordered by doctors to recover for the next few weeks which may cost us at a couple of shows.’

    The next stop on his current tour is at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas as part of Morgan Wallen: The Dangerous Tour on Saturday, October 8.

    He added, ‘My team and I will keep the fans updated on that as I rest in the coming days.’

    ‘Please keep our road family in your prayers and I promise to keep you updated in the days to follow,’ he added.

    ‘God bless our medics and local and state officials for their quick response and incredible service,’ Hardy concluded.

    After the October 8 show, the singer has a nearly two-month break before getting back on the road in December.

    Hardy has had hit country singles such as Rednecker and One Beer.

    He’ll perform on the Wall to Wall Tour in a number of cities starting December 1 in Athens, GA and ending December 17 in Greenville, SC.

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  • 44 минуты назад 03.10.2022Showbiz
    Chloe Lattanzi plans to reverse thousands of dollars worth of cosmetic procedures

    Olivia Newton-John’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi is embracing a more natural look.

    Speaking to fans in an Instagram video on Monday, the 36-year-old revealed she’s removed the dermal fillers from her face and is now planning to have her breast implants taken out.

    Chloe, who often promotes anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories, made the video in response to trolls who questioned how someone with extensive cosmetic work could question modern medicine.

    ‘It’s an ongoing process. I’ve had the fillers removed from my face. When I had it done, I had body dysmorphia so I had very low self esteem,’ Chloe said in the heavily filtered clip.

    ‘I think I started doing [fillers] about 10 years ago. My face looked very puffy and strange. There’s a product called hyaluronidase that can take it out – it basically dissolves it – which is an ongoing process that I go through.

    Chloe also said she regrets getting breast implants, which she received in Australia at age 18.

    ‘When I had my breasts done I had very low self esteem. I also wasn’t aware. I trusted anyone in a white coat and I wasn’t aware that there was any side effects or consequences,’ she lamented.

    ‘I’m actually looking into removing them. It does cost a lot of money,’ Chloe added.

    Chloe previously admitted she’s had two two breast augmentations to fix her initial ‘botched’ boob job.

    Chloe went on to claim her lips will never be the same after years of dermal filler injections.

    ‘With my lips, I had them injected so much that they are permanently stretched out. Not that this is anyone’s business, but it hurt to see some of these comments and I just wanted to educate people.’

    ‘You can believe me or not, but it’s the truth. From having them filled so much, they’re just stretched. I haven’t had them done in years.’

    The star went onto admit that she was in ‘a dark space’ when she committed to the procedures.

    Chloe said her cosmetic procedures were like an ‘addiction’, as she knew the risks yet continued with the procedures anyway.

    ‘With addiction, you know it’s bad, but you have such low self-esteem you take the risk. And if I knew these were bad for me back [when I got the work done] then I still would have done it. I need to feel like I was good enough,’ she admitted.

    Chloe accompanied her lengthy video with a heartfelt caption about her body image struggles over the years.

    ‘I’m not perfect. I continue to make mistakes with my diet and my choices,’ she wrote.

    ‘It doesn’t mean I’m not trying every day to do the right thing for my body. This is called addiction and low self esteem, which I battle every day.’

    Chloe’s plan to embrace a more natural appearance comes after the death of her mother Olivia in August.

    The Grease star died at the age of 73 after a brave and extraordinarily public decades-long battle with cancer.

    Chloe’s battle with addiction and body image issues is well documented.

    She began struggling with an eating disorder at age 15, not long after she scored her first record deal.

    She continued to buckle to the pressures of fame as a teenager, swiftly descending into a dangerous spiral of drugs and alcohol abuse to manage her depression.

    By her 20s, the aspiring singer was splashing over $100 on cocaine and drinking half a bottle of vodka every day – often leading to her blacking out.

    In December 2009, Woman’s Day magazine reported that a ‘dishevelled’ Chloe had collapsed in front of a strip club in West Hollywood.

    Chloe, who was 23 at the time, reportedly fell to the ground and needed assistance to stand back up after she and a female friend were refused entry into the Star Strip Theatre.

    The publication claimed Chloe was visibly drunk, and begged the bouncer to ‘please let us in’ for 10 minutes, while repeatedly being asked to leave the club’s entrance.

    Chloe reportedly had difficulty speaking and walking before she collapsed to the ground after being denied entry.

    Her habit of digitally ‘touching up’ her social media photos appears to be linked to the body-image problems she faced as a teenager.

    After being called out for a Photoshop fail in 2016, she admitted to fans: ‘I thought I looked fat so I Photoshopped myself a little thinner. Then someone called me out, and I’m glad they did.

    ‘Thank whoever you were for calling me out on my bulls**t. I’ve got to remember [I’m] never going to be perfect.’

    In an interview with The Mail on Sunday back in 2013, Chloe revealed she had been abusing cocaine, alcohol and antidepressants for years prior to checking into rehab.

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    ‘If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that you can’t be fragile in this business, or else you end up like Lindsay Lohan.’

  • 44 минуты назад 03.10.2022Showbiz
    Australian singer Ruel reveals bizarre bathroom tap in European hotel

    A strange hotel shower tap has left a British-Australian singer completely stumped, telling his followers it was the ‘most f***ed’ hotel bathroom feature’ he’d ever seen.

    Ruel, 19, recorded the video in an Italian hotel during Milan’s Fashion Week, and uploaded it to TikTok after finally solving the puzzle.

    In the clip, the famous singer, whose real name is Ruel Vincent van Dijk, said he’d found the most bizarre feature in any bathroom he’d been in during his travels.

    ‘I’ve spent quite a lot of time in hotels over the past few years and each time figuring out the shower in every hotel is like its own little riddle because they all work very differently,’ he said.

    ‘I think I’ve come across the most f***ed.’

    Ruel showed viewers the inside of his shower bath where he turned on an overhanging tap that switched on the bath.

    He then pulled a little switch underneath the bath tap and then turned the main tap back on, but he claimed the little switch actually activated the plug.

    ‘I was this close to going down to reception asking like a child how to work the shower or if it was broken,’ he continued.

    ‘I don’t know how I managed to figure this out.’

    Ruel then pulled on a hidden steel cap that was located on the end of the bath tap which turned on the shower.

    He described overseas hotel showers as a ‘f***ing rubix cube’.

    The TikTok clip has amassed more than 235,000 views and more than 52,000 likes.

    Ruel has recently been touring around the world with gigs in England, the US and Germany. He released his newest single, You Against Yourself, in August.

    He is best known for his hit song Dazed and Confused which has more than 209million streams on Spotify.

    The young singer’s talent has been previously lauded by music superstar Sir Elton John.

  • 44 минуты назад 03.10.2022Showbiz
    Ringo Starr, 82, forced to cancel show in New Buffalo after the famed drummer fell ill

    Ringo Starr and his band’s show in New Buffalo, Michigan, was cancelled on Saturday night due to the famed drummer falling ill.

    The Beatles legend, 82, pulled out of the gig at the Four Winds Casino just hours before taking to the stage after realising he couldn’t perform due to an illness which impacted his voice.

    The band’s spokesperson has said Ringo does not have COVID-19, but did not say what was affecting him.

    One of the concertgoers told TMZ that he went to the Four Winds Casino management and pressed them as to why the show was a no-go, and was told Ringo was ill but would not go further.

    It is yet to be confirmed if Ringo and the band’s show scheduled for Sunday night in Prior Lake, Minnesota, will go ahead.

    Organisers are hoping to reschedule the New Buffalo show but promoters told fans they could get a refund if it suited better.

    MailOnline has contacted Ringo’s representatives for comment.

    Last month Ringo celebrated his 82nd birthday by hosting his annual Peace and Love party in Beverly Hills.

    Ringo has had lots to celebrate recently, as he and second wife Barbara marked 41 years of marriage on April 27.

    The Scouse icon has three children – son Zak, 56; son Jason, 54; and daughter Lee, 51 – from his decade-long marriage to Maureen Starkey, which ended in 1975.

    The nine-time Grammy winner and his All Starr Band concluded the first leg of their Spring Tour 2022 on June 26 in Clearwater Florida.

    The tour – postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic – will resume in the Fall on September 23 in Bridgeport, Connecticut and end on October 20 in Mexico City.

    Ringo’s birthday bash comes just weeks after he made history as the first member of The Beatles to auction off a collection of NFT digital artwork.

    $1,000 was the starting bid for all five of the Englishman’s pieces – Galaxy One, Galaxy Two, Bandana Man, Starr Art, and Crash – which include short animated videos featuring his drumming.

    ‘I only ever wanted to be a drummer yet you never know where a new idea or path will lead you,’ Ringo (born Richard Starkey) said in a statement.

    ‘This new technology is so far out it’s inspired me and I loved creating these NFTs combining my art and my music. Who’d have thought I would be spreading peace and love in the metaverse.’

    A portion of proceeds to benefit The Lotus Foundation, an organization aimed at advancing social welfare in areas like substance abuse, cerebral palsy, brain tumors, cancer, battered woman and their children, homelessness, and needy animals.

  • 44 минуты назад 03.10.2022Showbiz
    Lizzo stuns in a neon yellow nude illusion bodysuit on stage during her Special Tour in NYC

    Lizzo turned heads as she stepped onto the stage at Madison Square Garden in New York City to give a memorable performance for her Special Tour.

    The Truth Hurts singer, 34, donned a colorful bodysuit as she sang a number of her hit songs for her cheering fans in the large venue.

    The talented star kicked off her North American tour last month on September 23 in Florida, and will conclude in sunny Los Angeles mid-November.

    The performer opted for an eye-catching ensemble for her stage performance, and donned a nude-colored body suit with neon yellow patterns that sparkled under the bright stage lights.

    The star paired the colorful outfit with neon yellow combat boots to complete her concert look.

    Her brunette hair was parted in the middle, and flowed past her shoulders in stylish waves. Purple highlights were added throughout her long locks.

    To accessorize her look, the Boys hitmaker added a pair of silver-hooped earrings but chose to not add any other pieces of jewelry.

    For her makeup look, Lizzo added an additional pop of color with a heavy layer of purple eyeshadow which she paired with a nude-colored lipstick.

    The Grammy award-winning singer was all smiles and appeared to be having a blast as she sang her heart on stage while also showcasing her dance skills.

    The Special Tour has been promoting Lizzo’s recent fourth studio album titled, Special, which was officially released over the summer in July.

    During an interview on the Zane Lowe podcast, the talented singer opened up about the Billboard charting album.

    ‘I think love is the heart of this album. I think everything I’ve been doing prior to Special was in pursuit of love,’ she explained.

    In a recent interview with Elle UK, the award winner revealed that her early inspiration to pursue working in the music industry was due to Destiny’s Child.

    ‘Growing up in Houston, the impact that Destiny’s Child had on me making a decision to become an artist was incredible, mostly because I felt like we were so close to it,’ Lizzo explained to the publication.

    The star also reminisced on a time she met the talented group when she was younger. ‘They had an album-signing event at a Wal-Mart and I skipped school to go see them.’

    She later explained that Beyoncé still is a major influence in her life when it comes to creating music of her own. ‘Every time I hear her, it’s like, ‘Man, I want to make people feel this way. How can I make people feel this way, too? ‘

    The performer recently made history earlier this week on Tuesday when performing a concert in Washington D.C. as part of her Special Tour.

    While she was on stage in a shimmering ensemble, a representative walked up to the singer and handed her a 200-year-old crystal flute from the Library of Congress. The musical instrument was previously owned by James Madison, the fourth president of The United States.

    Lizzo was the first person to have the opportunity to play the instrument, and shared the monumental moment on her Instagram.


    The Special Tour is currently in high gear, and will conclude with a show-stopping concert on November 19 in Los Angeles.

  • 44 минуты назад 03.10.2022Showbiz
    The Block’s Shaynna Blaze could be set to quit the show

    The Block’s Shaynna Blaze could be set to quit the series according to Woman’s Day on Monday.

    The report went on to say Shaynna feels miffed her upcoming project Country Home Rescue wasn’t heavily promoted at the Nine Upfronts.

    ‘There’s no doubt that behind the scenes Shaynna feels a little let down,’ says an insider.

    ‘She prides herself on her work and this was a TV project with her children. To have it pushed aside – it would have her questioning where she stands with Nine.’

    Shaynna is currently starring on the current season of The Block.

    The designer has become a Nine stable star in recent years.

    In June last year, Shaynna won Celebrity Apprentice in an emotional season finale.

    She triumphed over comedian Ross Noble in the last challenge, raising $326,000 for charity and pocketing an additional $100,000 winner’s bonus.

    At the final boardroom meeting, Shaynna told Lord Alan Sugar she’d started domestic-violence charity Voice of Change because she was ‘not unscathed’ by domestic violence in her own life.

    She raised $475,000 in total for her charity during the competition, which Lord Sugar revealed was a record for Celebrity Apprentice.

    An emotional Shaynna was moved as Ross congratulated her, telling the group the money she had raised would ‘save lives’.

    The Block continues Monday at 7.30pm on Channel Nine

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Showbiz Bring a hankie... the Queen's back for a ding-dong with Maggie: PATRICK MARMION reviews Handbagged