In 2006 Dame Helen Mirren won 29 major awards for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the film The Queen, including the Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA Awards for Best Actress.
In April this year she once again reprised the role for the stage production of Peter Morgan’s (who also wrote The Queen) world premiere of The Audience at the Gielgud in Shaftesbury Ave.
For the last sixty one years, the Queen has met with 12 Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said… not even to their spouces. The Audience breaks that code of silence and imagines a series of pivotal meetings, charting an arc through the second Elizabethan Age. Prime Ministers come and go through the revolving door of politics, while she remains constant.
The Audience opened to critical acclaim, and is nominated for five Laurence Olivier Awards, including a Best Actress nod for Dame Helen.
She is always very accommodating with autograph requests. If she doesn’t sign in person, the stage-door manager takes material to her. My programme was signed when she was leaving after an evening performance, but I left the sketch at the theatre. When time is limited and there are gazillions of graphs to do, she has abbreviate to ‘H. Mirren” so I was please to get a full signature and the customary wavy underline. I wonder if Elizabeth R will take in the play, after all she and Philip did go to War Horse and did invite Dame Helen to dinner at the Palace in May 2007.