Heads Up: The Audience
Mirren, the drama Queen, is ready to reign again
What are we talking about? A new play, which imagines what goes on behind the closed doors of Buckingham Palace, where the Queen has held weekly meetings with 12 different Prime Ministers.
Elevator pitch Her Royal Highness will be seen now: Mirren dons the crown again for a right royal audience.
Prime movers It's written by Peter Morgan, returning to his fave subjects – HRH, and politicians – after his Oscar and Bafta nominated screenplays for The Queen, and Frost/Nixon. It's directed by Stephen Daldry, the man behind Billy Elliot, The Hours, and The Reader. Tony award-winning designer Bob Crowley is on designing duties.
The stars She's at it again: Helen Mirren, who impressed as the monarch in The Queen, winning an Oscar for her imitation, is reunited with Morgan to portray his version of Elizabeth once more. As for her PMs, Robert Hardy plays Churchill, Michael Elwyn gets Eden, Richard McCabe takes on Wilson, Haydn Gwynne is Thatcher, Paul Ritter becomes Major, Nathaniel Parker is Brown and Rufus Wright plays Cameron.
The Early buzz Much excitement; it featured on almost every look-ahead list, with The Independent calling it "a mouth-watering proposition", The Telegraph, an "intriguing new play", The Guardian musing that "presumably it'll be a battle of the handbags when it comes to those allegedly frosty encounters with Thatcher", and The Daily Mail concluding that The Audience "is bound to be one of the hottest tickets in town in years."
Insider knowledge Mirren isn't the only one returning to a previous role – Hardy will be playing Winston Churchill for the eighth time.
It's great that … although daunted by having to play the Queen ageing over 60 years, Mirren seems to have cracked the challenge by listening to how Elizabeth II's voice has modulated. She suggests that "she had a terribly posh voice when she was young [but now] there's a tiny bit of estuary creeping in there."
It's a shame that … there's a notable recent name missing from the list: where oh where is Tony Blair? Wouldn't his Iraq chat with the Queen have been rather interesting?
Hit potential You need to ask? Even with "premium" tickets going for the princely sum of £87, plenty of tickets have shifted already.
The details The Audience is at the Gielgud Theatre, London W1 (theaudienceplay.com), 15 February to 15 June.
Arts & Ents blogs
Owen Howells is a DJ/producer who grew up in Australia but was born in the UK. He came back to the U...
Fancy seeing a play about serial killers? How about inviting a funeral director into your home for a...
There are a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refl...
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.