I had the hottest tickets in town on Saturday night as I went to a performance of The Audience, starring Dame Helen Mirren at the Gielgud Theatre in London's West End.
I had thankfully booked tickets for myself and a friend way back in January, and thank goodness I did as tickets for the play are booked up right until the end of its run later this year! The theatre was packed, the atmosphere excited and we had excellent seats in the second row.
The Audience was everything I expected it to be- and more. From the moment Mirren appeared on stage the entire theatre was captivated. It was like watching the real monarch on stage, and more often than not, I had to pinch myself to remember that we weren't actually sitting in one of the rooms at Buckingham Palace or Balmoral listening to the private conversation between Queen and Prime Minister. Mirren captured the voice, the walk and the mannerisms of the monarch perfectly.
I was so impressed with the play's set design and costumes. Mirren changes her appearance on-stage with the help of three assistants. We see her move from current day Queen to the young Monarch and back again all in the blink of an eye. One of my favourite scenes was when the Queen is being photographed by Cecil Beaton in full regalia as the nervous Anthony Eden waits outside. My other favourite 'conversations' are the ones between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher (Haydn Gwynne), Gordon Brown (Nathaniel Parker) and Harold Wilson (Richard McCabe.) Perhaps the most fantastic scenes are the conversations between the Queen and her younger self. Nell Williams who played the young Princess Elizabeth on Saturday's performance was brilliant, and it was so touching to watch these scenes play out on stage.
Tickets for The Audience are sold out until the end of its run on 15th June, but the Gielgud Theatre releases ten tickets a day on the door. You also may strike lucky with some return tickets. Your best bet for seeing this magnificent play is when it is screen by NT Live in cinemas on 13th June. Check your local listings for more details.
The Audience is one of the most magnificent plays that I have seen, with every moment more captivating than the last. Mirren is at the top of her game. Her performance was entertaining, serious and stunning, and I feel so lucky to have seen her perform one of her now iconic roles live on stage.
For more information about The Audience click here.