Peter Morgan's The Audience, Starring Helen Mirren, Opens March 5 at West End's Gielgud Theatre
By Mark Shenton
Helen Mirren stars in the West End premiere of Peter Morgan's The Audience, which officially opens March 5 following previews that began Feb. 15 at the Gielgud Theatre. The Oscar-winning actress reprises the role of Queen Elizabeth II (for which she won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Actress for "The Queen," also scripted by Morgan).
Stephen Daldry directs the play, which imagines a series of pivotal meetings between Her Majesty the Queen and various prime ministers in their weekly meetings, which have hitherto been entirely secret.
According to press materials, "The Audience breaks this contract of silence. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional - sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. In turn, the Queen can't help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases."
Mirren is joined by Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Edward Fox as Winston Churchill (replacing Robert Hardy, who withdrew during previews, citing ill-health), Paul Ritter as John Major, Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown and Rufus Wright as David Cameron.
Mirren was last seen on the London stage in the title role of Phedre at the National Theatre in 2009. Other recent London theatre credits include Mourning Becomes Electra (also at the National). She began her career playing Cleopatra for the National Youth Theatre, before joining the RSC, where she starred in productions that included Troilus and Cressida and Macbeth. Films include "Age of Consent," "The Long Good Friday," "The Madness of King George," "Gosford Park," "Calendar Girls" and "The Last Station." TV includes the title role in "Elizabeth I" (for which she won Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Awards) and "Prime Suspect" (Emmy and three BAFTAs), "Losing Chase" (Golden Globe Award), "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (Emmy), "Door to Door" and "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone." She became a Dame of the British Empire in 2003.
The Audience is produced in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Robert Fox and Andy Harries.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 4825130, or visit www.theaudienceplay.com for more details.
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