Handbagged, The Lowry, Salford Quays

HAVE you ever wondered what the Queen and Margaret Thatcher spoke about when they met behind closed doors?

Writer Moira Buffini takes the idea and has fun with it in her classy comedy Handbagged, currently playing at the Lowry.

We meet older and younger versions of the two characters who were, apparently, supposed to have their differences in real life.

Handbagged has plenty of laugh out loud funny moments but Buffini also reminds us of the more controversial aspects of the Thatcher premiership.

While the former PM does get a polite dressing down from Her Majesty on more than one occasion, the audience never feels like it's being lectured to.

A recruitment drive for the Labour Party it definitely isn't, with Buffini setting out simply to entertain, and rest assured, she certainly gets my vote.

The four actresses who play younger and older versions of the Queen and Mrs Thatcher bear a fleeting resemblance to the real thing.

However, Susie Blake, Kate Fahy, Emma Handy and Sancha McCormack really excel when it comes to the voices, which makes me wonder why this wasn't a radio play.

It does work on stage, even on the big stage of the Lowry's Lyric Theatre.

This is a very strong ensemble and it would be impossible not to mention the contribution of Richard Teverson and Asif Khan, who play a number of key figures from the Thatcher years.

We meet everyone from Denis Thatcher, the PM's loyal husband, who is once again, as he was on Spitting Image, portrayed as a ridiculous figure of fun, to Nancy Reagan, America's former first lady,

You don't need to be a royalist or have an interest in politics to appreciate a play which actually treats the audience like it has something between its ears.

Very watchable, highly entertaining and a must see.

- Handbagged is at The Lowry until Saturday. The box office is on 0843 208 6000 or visit thelowry.com