|Photo by Johan Persson|
London is getting more like New York every day.
It's certainly getting noisier. First-time visitors to New York used to feel assailed by street noise and yearn, at least until their ears adjusted, for the relative quiet of home. Now the clamoring, clanking, subway, building, banging, mobile phone, and simple shouting that characterise New York streets are easily being challenged by London—even in theatreland.
The latest hilarious incident concerned the far-from-regal but very down-to-earth Helen Mirren. As a theatrical dame, she is beyond any kind of criticism, but, as if her terrestrial status as a great actor and as a Dame of the British Empire weren't enough, she's currently performing as Queen Elizabeth the Second in a play called The Audience, so she's royal, as well as divine. The other evening her sold-out, but very quiet, performance was effectively drowned out by the din of a band of drummers in the street outside the Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, a famous road lined with playhouses at the very heart of theatreland.
Being Helen Mirren, and not one just to send a theatre usher out to shush the disturbance, she battled through until intermission and then, in full Queen of England regalia, shot out of the stage door and accosted the London Samba Band, who were literally trying to drum up business for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender music festival "As One In The Park." Using some distinctly un-regal language, Mirren flew at them, yelling at them to “Shut the f*** up!!!”
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