Academy Award winner Helen Mirren stars as Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan's inside look at the relationships between royalty and government. 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.
"'The Audience' is spectacular and a must watch. It really has all the elements. Helen Mirren gives a tour de force performance...Peter Morgan’s writing is superb. It is witty and engaging. I laughed much more often than I was expecting to...In short – if you get tickets run to see this, you will not be disappointed." Full Review
"'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
"'The Audience' is much improved from its London run, a little lighter and bouncier than it had been...Mirren is mesmerizing as she plays Queen Elizabeth...Daldry and Mirren know each other so well that by now this is indeed their magic act...What Daldry and Mirren have done is make QEII–who used to seem aloof and out of touch, enemy of Diana–sympathetic." Full Review
"Visually, the director Stephen Daldry’s production remains a marvel...But it’s Mirren’s shrewd yet affectionate portrayal of a monarch-made-flesh that looks poised to take the town, perhaps resulting in this actress’s first-ever Tony Award. 'One by one, your prime ministers will fall under your spell,' the play’s Winston Churchill tells Her Majesty. Expect Broadway playgoers to join the queue." Full Review
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"'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
"The script by Peter Morgan is quick with a one-liner and never lets the audience's mind wander...The gem in the crown that is this play is Mirren. She gives us the gift of manifestation of one of the most mysterious people in the world. She brings her to life and lets us share in just how stifling it must be to be the queen and how wonderful it is to let your hair down." Full Review
"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
"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
"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
"'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
"Morgan's well-written take on Elizabeth's weekly 'audiences' with her prime ministers mostly avoids the risk of being an episodic trek through history...Daldry's elegant staging and Crowley's sets and costumes make a visually compelling play out of a plot that tends to involve two people seated, talking." Full Review
"'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
"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
"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
"'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
"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
"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
"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
"Helen Mirren takes on a role that seems to fit like an old tiara: Queen Elizabeth II. Familiarity is one of the chief pleasures of 'The Audience', a kind of historical pageant by Peter Morgan...Morgan’s play unfolds like a live British version of Disney World’s Hall of Presidents...An American audience’s response to all this depends a lot on the depth of their Anglophilia; Morgan’s serviceable patchwork script is steeped in a nostalgia for times and places that is just not our own. " Full Review
See it if You love the theatre, masterful acting by a stellar cast, and the incomparable Helen Mirren.
Don't see it if You're not interested in stunning skill and precision done by a stellar cast.
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.
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!
See it if You like Helen Mirren, want to be entertained while learning some history, and don't mind a small production
Don't see it if You want a big production of sets and costumes or if you don't want to see a play.
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.
See it if You are interested in British history and would enjoy a masterful performance by an incredible actor and a stellar cast.
Don't see it if British history or the royal family is not your thing, or if you don't care for small ensemble plays without a lot of "action".
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.
See it if You are intrigued by the longest serving monarch and a touch of history. Dame Mirren is worth it alone.
Don't see it if You have no interest in history or still don't care for the British.
See it if you love Mirren (of course you do). I saw the British version (on film) & preferred it. But Bway's still great. E2 is a fascinating figure.
Don't see it if you are Anglophobic. Still, great acting, interesting structure, fabulous costumes, inspiring bio, lots of humor and history. Worth seeing.