Play of the week: The Audience, Gielgud Theatre, London W1


Hugely enjoyable and cumulatively very affecting, the new play by Peter Morgan unfolds as a series of speculative peeks into the weekly confidential meetings between the Queen and the 12 Prime Ministers who have served during her reign.

The resulting vignettes add up to more here than the sum of their parts in Stephen Daldry's piercing, non-chronological production.

Brilliantly reprising her Oscar-winning role, Helen Mirren rises to the technical challenge with an uncannily fluid lightness of touch as she shifts back and forth on an age-spectrum of six decades. She makes The Audience a right-royal great night out.

(0844 482 5130; to 15 Jun