Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Mirren happy to reprise Queen role

Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II for the play The Audience by Peter Morgan

Dame Helen Mirren reigned supreme over London's West End at the official opening of her new play The Audience.

The 67-year-old actress gave a majestic performance as the Queen - a role which has previously won her an Oscar - to an all-star crowd at the Gielgud Theatre - and made sure she was not upstaged by two adorable Corgis.

The play - directed by Stephen Daldry and written by Peter Morgan, who also wrote 2006 film The Queen - shows an imagined series of conversations between the Queen and her prime ministers during their regular private audiences.

Helen had the audience in stitches during the show as her character fell asleep during a meeting with David Cameron. Speaking of the Duke of Edinburgh's health, her Queen said: "We're both hanging in there, just... a bit like your coalition with the Liberal Democrats."

Sir David Frost, Sheridan Smith, Gemma Arterton, Tom Hooper, Luke Evans, Sheila Hancock and David Miliband were among the well-known faces in the audience.

The play also stars Haydn Gwynne as Baroness Thatcher, Edward Fox as Sir Winston Churchill and Richard McCabe with a hilarious performance as Harold Wilson.

Helen had previously vowed not to play the monarch again, saying: "I didn't want to become the actress who plays the Queen, if you know what I mean. I don't think that's very nice for me and it's not very nice for the Queen."

But she added that after meeting the cast of the play, which runs in the West End until June, she knew she would have been "an idiot" to turn the job down.

The Audience will be screened in cinemas on June 13 as part of National Theatre Live. It will also be shown internationally.

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