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Ultimate accessory . . . Actress Helen Moulder poses with the title prop for Gloria's Handbag. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A bag lady from the near future is getting up to a few tricks at the ODT Inkbox tomorrow night (Wednesday, May 3rd).

Acclaimed actress Helen Moulder returns to the intimate Oamaru Opera House theatre with her latest one-woman show, Gloria’s Handbag

Moulder co-wrote the play with Sue Rider, the author of another one-woman show she previously brought to Oamaru, Playing Miss Havisham

Gloria’s Handbag, featuring music from The Magic Flute, is set in Nelson in 2021. Gloria is 97 and knows she will not live much longer. She is resisting her son’s attempts to move her to into a “retireville”, preferring to die in her own home.

The nonagenarian acts on an impulse to buy a distinctive designer handbag, saying “It’s imperative to have a good handbag when you’re on the way out”.

The acquisition triggers a sequence of remarkable events that enlighten Gloria’s last days and allow her to send a message to the future.

Moulder not only plays six characters in the show, but she also performs opera singing and magic tricks.

During 40 years on stage in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, her roles have included Virginia Woolf in Vita and Virginia, Miss Shepherd in Lady in the Van, Madame Giry in Ken Hill’s Phantom of the Opera for three tours of Japan, Sylvia in Meeting Karpovsky, which was devised with Rider and Sir Jon Trimmer, and Lady Churchill in former Waitaki Boys’ High School rector Paul Baker’s play Meet the Churchills

Rider has earned 18 awards as a writer and director. Based in Brisbane, she directed its La Boite Theatre from 1993 to 2000, is an adjunct professor at the University of Queensland, and has chaired Backbone Youth Arts since 2008.

Gloria’s Handbag was first performed at Wellington’s Circa Theatre in March 2014. The handbag was designed by Gillie Coxill.

The Oamaru performance begins at 7.30pm. Tickets, costing $25 plus fees, are available through TicketDirect and at the Oamaru Opera House.