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The Audience

Members say: Great acting, Intelligent, Absorbing, Entertaining, Masterful
85
Critics
80
33 reviews
Members
89
50 reviews
 

Academy Award winner Helen Mirren stars as Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan's inside look at the relationships between royalty and government.... Read more

For sixty years, Queen Elizabeth II has met with each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a private weekly meeting, a meeting known as The Audience. "The Audience" takes theatregoers behind the walls of Buckingham Palace and into the private chambers of Queen Elizabeth II as she meets with each of her Prime Ministers over the decades. Through these private audiences, we see glimpses of the woman behind the crown and witness the moments that shaped a monarch.

 

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Reviews (83)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
80
Avg Score

80
The New York Times

"'The Audience' allows the smashing Ms. Mirren to demonstrate her quick-change virtuosity in becoming the queen at different ages before our very eyes. Those transformations, accomplished with sleights of hand worthy of a master magician, are probably the most entertaining and satisfying aspects of 'The Audience'...You can also expect a lively and expansive tutorial on a number of subjects." Full Review

90
Time Out New York

"Whether you know your 20th-century Parliamentary history or simply get an Anglophile high from tea service and footmen in livery, Mirren rules in this engaging and humanizing retrospective. The Brits may sing about God saving their queen, but I think she takes care of herself just fine." Full Review

85
Variety

"Long live Queen Helen! Maybe she’ll add a Tony to her collection for her triumphant return to Buckingham Palace in 'The Audience'...The fundamental appeal for an audience is watching the various prime ministers display their goods for the Queen and observing Mirren’s subtle skills at adjusting her age, voice, physical presence and state of mind to reflect (or try to hide) her feelings about each of these politicians." Full Review

85
New York Post

"Helen Mirren is absolutely terrific as Queen Elizabeth II in 'The Audience"...Mirren often changes from one year of Elizabeth’s life to another and back again in full view of the audience - the kind of theatrical magic trick you won’t soon forget. But it pales compared with the way Mirren switches roles from an established, aging ruler to a young woman who holds her own against a colossal statesman swinging his weight around...From time to time, a pair of live corgis appear, a good represent... Full Review

75
The Guardian (UK)

"A love letter in clipped vowels to the current good queen Bess, [playwright] Morgan’s efficient if somewhat workmanlike script dramatises her weekly audience with the 12 prime ministers of her reign...Mirren is, of course, excellent...[Morgan's] contention is that Elizabeth was someone who would have preferred not to have become queen, but who has embraced the role with dignity and grace. Rather like Mirren – although one supposes she did want the role. And it’s a very good thing for theatre... Full Review

80
New Yorker

"Working closely with Morgan’s long and essentially plotless script [Daldry] not only shows us how the scene is assembled but makes its construction part of his theatre magic, which is warmer than Brecht’s, but 'alienated,' too... There is nothing like watching a great director with a great star; the relationship can and often does transcend weak material. Morgan’s material is not lacklustre. There’s enough air in it for Mirren to interpret, and for Daldry to guide her interpretation and add ... Full Review

65
The Huffington Post

"Look to 'The Audience' for an audience with Helen Mirren, dressed and coiffed as Elizabeth II. An audience with Helen Mirren makes a fine night's entertainment, but not--in this case--a compelling dramatic event." Full Review

80
New York Theatre Guide

"Those of you who like a bit of Royal Fantasy should hurry up and get your tickets to this delicious bit of sweets...Many of the scenes often feel contrived...Where this production does excel is in the person of Helen Mirren who manages to convey the essence of this Queen. We understand, we can literally feel that for her this is a Holy calling." Full Review

70
Talkin' Broadway

"[Mirren's] technical flawlessness is on vibrant display...It’s a virtuosic turn, no doubt, if one that’s ultimately muted by 'The Audience's struggles to conjure drama or wonder in other ways...None of it is boring; Morgan has injected plenty of laughs, Daldry has directed with cunning and care... But no grand theme worthy of the pageantry emerges." Full Review

85
Broadway Blog

"For all its dramaturgic thinness, the play is nonetheless continually stimulating...Stephen Daldry’s imaginative staging has fun with the pomp and circumstance...And then, of course, there’s the magnificent Helen Mirren, every inch the queen...Mirren’s natural authority and the subtlety with which she offers nuance upon nuance to her performance make seeing her a must." Full Review

90
The Huffington Post

"'The Audience' is polished to a fault, proceeding with clockwork efficiency from a little comedy to a little drama, from the personal to the political...Not a moment of the play will actually surprise you. But the production of the play is faultless...It's amusing, quietly dramatic, a little informative. I'm quite certain Mirren will enjoy adding a well-deserved Tony to her Oscar and multiple Emmys." Full Review

80
AM New York

"Helen Mirren is once again playing Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s intriguing and insightful drama...With its nonlinear format, the play was bound to be choppy...There is also no overall conflict or plot. But taken as a whole, 'The Audience' is a fascinating meditation on the historic and present day role of the English monarch. Mirren capably handles the challenging role." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"'The Audience' remains an elegantly linked series of vignettes. Director Stephen Daldry appears to have felt the need to broaden the subtle comedy of his London hit for American tastes, which further exposes the patchwork nature of Morgan's writing. But it's an exemplary showcase for Mirren's cool authority, keen understanding of character and astonishing transformative skills." Full Review

70
New York Magazine / Vulture

"'The Audience' relies on too many clichés of biodrama to hold itself together...So it’s really the Helen Mirren show, with her chorus line of prime ministers in black and gray setting off her brilliance. It’s dazzling fun. But for Mirren no less than the rest of the cast the play appears to be little more than a series of meaty and not especially difficult exercises; they invest a great deal of expertise and passion into the best possible rendering of the simplest possible tunes. " Full Review

65
New York Daily News

"Effortlessly and consistently commanding and composed, Mirren can’t be upstaged... Still, her portrait never quite ascends to that elusive level of transcendence — or indelibility. Don’t blame Dame Helen... The concept is clever and entertaining, probably a lot more so if you’re English, but there’s not much of a takeaway." Full Review

90
Deadline

"Mirren has this queen thing down quite nicely...The title refers to Liz’s weekly off-the-record meetings with her Prime Ministers...They’re a disparate, sometimes unruly lot, each of whom she handles with wit and aplomb in Stephen Daldry’s perfectly pitched production, gorgeously designed by his frequent collaborator Bob Crowley." Full Review

85
CurtainUp

"'The Audience' is not a thematically powerful play, with a bang-up dramatic core...The viewer's pleasure derives more from its pageantry than its plot. However, it's the pageantry, Mirren's latest star turn as an ordinary woman living within its elegant boundaries, that does make for bright and highly entertaining theater." Full Review

90
Newsday

"What could have been an acting stunt is instead a rich, deep portrait of a woman who, somehow, is deeply revealed without giving much of her mysterious self away...The production, expertly directed by Stephen Daldry, puts these unpredictable exchanges within the strict formality of the palace...Neither a Shakespearean tragedy nor a fairy-tale fantasy, the poignant power of this royal story comes from its extraordinary ordinariness." Full Review

90
Chicago Tribune

"Aside from giving the redoubtable Helen Mirren another chance to essay Queen Elizabeth II, Peter Morgan's "The Audience" succeeds because it intuits the heavy price a monarch must pay in a constitutional democracy...'The Audience' will be catnip for Anglophiles, certainly. But this play also is an accessible but quite profound exploration of the intersection of the regal and procedural aspects of any government." Full Review

30
The Wrap

"If you’ve seen Mirren in 'The Queen,' there’s no reason to see 'The Audience.' Princess Diana provides the dramatic conflict that drives the movie, and her presence is sorely missed in the play, where’s there’s absolutely no dramatic conflict. The plot, what little there is, hinges on a series of prime ministers who hold weekly meetings with the queen." Full Review

80
WNBC

"The costume changes are engagingly 'Cinderella'-esque, and make Mirren’s Elizabeth believable on both ends of a 50-year spectrum. Morgan’s script makes for a great history lesson, especially for those of us with trouble remembering U.K. politics before Thatcher. Some of the meetings may not be exactly scintillating, but they make you consider the grace with which Queen Elizabeth has endured the passing parade." Full Review

90
Towleroad

"Morgan’s play is foremost a fascinating character study, brought to life by Mirren’s stunning performance as the Queen...Much of what makes 'The Audience' so compelling is feeling privy to the Queen’s inner life...Morgan’s play offers a backstage pass to the longest running show in the world." Full Review

80
Reflections in the Light

"Tight direction by Stephen Daldry and the two opulent sets ranging from Buckingham Palace to Balmoral in Scotland keep us from getting lost, but the time jumping does seem unnecessary... The scene leading into intermission has Elizabeth dressed in all her finery at her coronation with shouts of 'Long Live the Queen!' from the audience. We have a feeling Mirren will also hear shouts of 'Best Actress' coming as Tony Awards nominations are announced." Full Review

95
The Observer

"'The Audience' takes us candidly behind the scenes of Buckingham Palace for an exhilarating view...From Mr. Morgan’s astute writing and Stephen Daldry’s lively, keenly observant direction, we learn a lot...From start to finish, Helen Mirren explores every subtlety, every physical change...She is miraculous, and 'The Audience' is a royal evening indeed." Full Review

90
New Jersey Newsroom

"It is Mirren’s magnificent performance as Elizabeth that makes 'The Audience' such a must-see show for anyone interested in modern British history or simply the woman upon the throne. Morgan’s sympathetic portrait of Elizabeth is fleshed out warmly by Mirren’s compelling acting...director Stephen Daldry has cultivated clear-cut performances from his 17-member company and marshals superb design elements in support." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
89
Avg Score

85
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a masterful performance by Helen Mirren.

Don't see it if you have no interest in British politics or royalty.

100
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see, Riveting

See it if You want to see one of the great performances of our generation, Helen Mirren as QE2, in a thought-provoking new play about history/politics

Don't see it if You're an anti-monarchist, don't want to exert a lot of mental energy on the show, or have absolutely zero knowledge of modern history.

80
Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Clever costume changing

See it if you like historical plays.

Don't see it if you don't like British politics.

85
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if because Helen Mirren is wonderful and never disappoints.

Don't see it if If you're not a fan of British history.

80
Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Historical, Engaging

See it if (Saw in London) For Helen Mirren alone, if not the rest of the cast. She portrays her Majesty with such respect and intelligence. Excellent!

Don't see it if If you don't care to learn about/didn't live through these eras. It's an education in modern British history seen through the Queen's eyes.

93
Original, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Riveting

See it if you want to see Helen Mirren own the stage in this masterful play! Beautiful transitions throughout time; brings the queen to life on stage

Don't see it if you do not enjoy British politics; this is (was) a must see!

87
Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Entertaining

See it if You love British royalty and politics.

Don't see it if You dislike drawing room plays, even if they involve a good dose of comedy.

80
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Slow

See it if you want to see Helen Mirren live. She's amazing.

Don't see it if you can't sit through a long play with lots of dialogue and very little action. It's a great show, but you have to pay attention.

90
Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want to see Helen Mirren in a wonderful part for her. The play is interesting and even educational.

Don't see it if you don't care about the Queen of England or British history.

91
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if you love an interesting story and magnificent acting.

Don't see it if if you don't like straight theatre and historical pieces.

90
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You want to see the masterful Helen Mirren giving a brilliant performance in this well written play.

Don't see it if You don't appreciate great theater.

95
Great acting, Intelligent, Riveting, Great staging

See it if You want to see the mistress of her craft Dame Helen Mirren, set off like a jewel in a setting.

Don't see it if You have no knowledge of royal family or 20th century history.

92
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Entertaining, Educational

See it if you like historical stories on the big stage.

Don't see it if you don't like the british

93
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Great writing, Witty

See it if you're an Anglophile & want to see a master class in acting.

Don't see it if you're too easily bored by politics.

100
Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Great writing, Great staging

See it if Outstanding writing and acting. A tour de force!

Don't see it if Why would anyone not see this one?!

88
Great acting, Interesting, Great costumes, Great staging, Educational

See it if You love Helen Mirren or great performances

Don't see it if You have no interest in seeing Helen Mirren

84
Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Overrated

See it if you love the thespian wonder that is Helen Mirren. This is all her, and she does not disappoint.

Don't see it if you can't, because its run has ended.

84
Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Confusing, Slow

See it if you love helen as the queen in the movie, she is truly a great actress.

Don't see it if It was hard to follow because i did not know about the prime ministers but I thought acting was Helen mirien was outstanding as the queen.

85
Funny, Great acting, Resonant, Great writing, Engaging

See it if you have an interest in British politics (AND if you don't-- it's still a really engaging piece of theater without much prior knowledge).

Don't see it if you particularly DON'T like British politics.

75
Great acting, Resonant, Great writing, Confusing, Great staging

See it if you are into British politics and/or if you like theater that reflects history in a poignant and charming way.

Don't see it if you are uninterested by British politics at all. It is not the most compelling show even if interesting and thoughtful.

85
Original, Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent

See it if you love Helen Mirren, you are fascinated by dialogue-heavy scenes, and you're at least somewhat familiar with British politics.

Don't see it if you like more action-filled shows and you don't care about British or any politics.

88
Delightful, Enchanting, Exquisite, Amazing acting from queen helen

See it if you want to see one of our very most talented actresses in the world - Queen Helen. The play is more a series of montages but Helen - wow.

Don't see it if You really need a plot.

80
Great acting, Great writing, Hard to follow, Too long

See it if You want to see Helen Mirren in action, playing a part she knows well and is good at or if you want a political-ish play that's funny

Don't see it if you want a flashy Broadway show or if You can't understand British accents.

82
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Superficial

See it if you want to catch a display of spectacular showmanship, from a star, director, and designers at the height of their considerable powers.

Don't see it if you want writing that surprises &illuminates. Like an audience with the queen, this is dazzling pomp & circumstance not sturm 'n' drang.

100
Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing, Lovely

See it if you ever get the chance!

Don't see it if you get bored easily.