by  Mark Ravenhill

Full Length Play, Dark Comedy  /  3m, 3f

"In Shopping and Fucking, Mark Ravenhill made theatre relevant to the Thatcher generation. Now he's put videos and Net-surfing in Faust. And it's no less stunning" (Guardian)

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 3f
  • SubGenre


    Adaptations (Literature)
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Twenty-eight years before The Importance of Being Earnest, a young woman gives birth to a baby boy. Is it an accident when Nanny places him in a handbag and her unpublished novel into the pram? In 1998 a new baby is stolen and an academic discovers an unpublished novel of more than usual revolting sentimentality. From Victorian wet nurses to 90s sperm banks, Mark Ravenhill's play examines the role of parenting in an age of diverse sexualities, biological engineering and Tinky Winky's handbag.
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"A promising idea awaits dramatic payoff in 'Handbag,' the Mark Ravenhill play that — whatever else its achievements — confirms that the author of 'Shopping and Fucking' is no one-play wonder." - Variety, Read More

"Handbag entertainingly and sometimes jarringly explores the timeless search for love, acceptance and meaning in what’s often an unwelcoming world." - Washington Blade, Read More 

"There are few stage authors writing more interestingly than Mark Ravenhill ...He is - it is now yet more evident - a searing, intelligent, disturbing sociologist with a talent for satirical dialogue and a flair for sexual sensationalism." - Financial Times


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Drugs Drugs
  • Caution Intense Adult Intense Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance
    This title is now available for licensing. Please contact your
    licensing representative for more information regarding this title.



  • Time Period: 1990s, Victorian (British and American)
  • Setting: London, in both the 1990s and the 1860s


3m, 3f
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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)

Casting Notes

Five of the roles are double-casted and feature two gay couples.



Mark Ravenhill

Mark is an internationally acclaimed playwright whose first full-length play, Shopping and Fucking, opened at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in 1996. His plays include Mother Clap's Molly House (National Theatre, 2001); Product (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 2005); The Cut (Donmar Warehouse, London, 2006); Citizens ...

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First performed at the Lyric Hammersmith Studio, London, in 1998 and was commissioned by the Actors Touring Company.

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