Last time the play opened in March 2013, it was with Helen Mirren playing Queen Elizabeth I. And given that she was reviving a role she had already commanded on the big screen in ‘The Queen’, it was a reliable smash-hit. Now, as Mirren continues the play on Broadway, Kristin Scott Thomas steps into her shoes in the West End, whilst the real Elizabeth probably sits in Buckingham Palace feeling suitably flattered at her glamorous portrayals.
The other new feature of this revival is an updated text from Morgan, which may or may not include an encounter between the Queen and Tony Blair. Two years ago his script was criticised for having the character of a sketch revue, bouncing backwards and forwards in time to show fictionalised versions of the private meetings between our monarch and various prime ministers. Whilst allowing the writer to make witty satirical jibes at historical figures and situations, it is the representation of the private lives of royalty which conjures lasting fascination from audiences. This modern history play finds its heart in exchanges between the queen’s older and younger selves, a trick that Mirren carried off beautifully; her replacement might be just as famous, but has a hard act to follow.
Scott Thomas is currently playing Electra at the Old Vic to great acclaim, and her appearances on London stages over the past few years have gained similar praise. She has a remarkable ability to choose parts that will both stretch her, and also showcase her trademark sphinx-like presence. It is well-known that she lives a life out of the spotlight in France, and on film her parts have often had a distinctly non-British sophistication; it’ll be interesting to see what she brings to this most British of roles. If you were a fan of ‘The Queen’ or ‘The King’s Speech’, then this is a rare opportunity to catch the same theme played out by a starry cast through live theatre; don’t miss out!
|What||The Audience, Apollo Theatre|
|Where||Apollo Theatre, 31 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
05 May 15 – 25 Jul 15, 7.30pm (Mon-Sat), 2.30pm (Wed, Sat)
|Website||Click here to book tickets|