This play, indeed the entire production, is brilliant from start to finish. The script, the magnificent cast headed by Helen Mirren reviving her role as Queen, the fascinating live costume changes on stage and even the corgis; it’s difficult to fault anything about The Audience. Furthermore, the ‘real’ audience enjoyed the rare privilege of an interview with writer, Peter Morgan, during the intermission.
Portrayed through various sketches, it’s the story of imagined conversations between the Queen and her prime ministers over the years. As no one other than the prime ministers and the Queen herself actually know what was discussed during these meetings (there are no minutes and both parties have an unspoken agreement not to divulge what is said), Morgan focuses on each prime ministers’ best known traits.
The fact that the play doesn’t run chronologically keeps it fresh and intriguing and the smooth transitions are cleverly aided by the Queen’s interchanges with her younger self. As the play spans a few decades she’s shown as mother and grandmother.
We don’t know how realistic this piece is but in some ways that’s the beauty of it and, does it really matter? Personally, I think not. With astute one-liners and the monarch even falling asleep during one of her meetings, there is no shortage of laughs. A beautifully casted and crafted production and I would highly recommend it. But hurry, there are only two more shows!