ENTERTAINMENT

Helen Mirren Is Back As The Queen In New Play 'The Audience'

06/03/2013 16:17 GMT | Updated 06/05/2013 10:12 BST

Dame Helen Mirren reigned supreme over London's West End at the official opening of her new play The Audience.

The 67-year-old actress gave a majestic performance as the Queen, the role which won her an Oscar, to an all-star crowd at the Gielgud Theatre last night - and made sure she was not upstaged by two adorable Corgis.

The play - directed by Stephen Daldry and written by Peter Morgan, who also wrote 2006 film The Queen - shows an imagined series of conversations between the Queen and her prime ministers during their regular private audiences.

queen

Mirren had the audience in stitches during the performance as her character fell asleep during a meeting with David Cameron.

Speaking of the Duke of Edinburgh's health, Mirren's Queen said: "We're both hanging in there, just... a bit like your coalition with the Liberal Democrats."

Sir David Frost, Sheridan Smith, Gemma Arterton, Tom Hooper, Luke Evans, Sheila Hancock and David Miliband were among the well-known faces in the audience.

The play also stars Haydn Gwynne as Baroness Thatcher, Edward Fox as Sir Winston Churchill and Richard McCabe with a hilarious performance as Harold Wilson.

Mirren has previously vowed not to play the monarch again, saying: "I didn't want to become the actress who plays the Queen, if you know what I mean. I don't think that's very nice for me and it's not very nice for the Queen."

But she added that after meeting the cast for the play, which runs in the West End until June, she knew she would have been "an idiot" to turn the job down.

Last night's official opening saw Mirren perform some deft costume changes on stage; she wore several wigs for the performance, as she is currently sporting a bright pink crop.

She revealed she was inspired to dye her hair after seeing someone with pink hair on US reality show America's Next Top Model and thinking: "That would be cool, I might have a go at that."

The Audience will be screened in cinemas on 13 June as part of National Theatre Live. It will also be shown internationally.