Monday, 17 June 2013

The Audience

"Just a Postage Stamp with a Pulse!"

The Audience
The Audience is one of the most talked about recent plays and so I was thrilled to find that National Theatre Live were broadcasting one of the last performances. I went to a local cinema in order to watch the broadcast and was not disappointed. 

I can see now why Helen Mirren has received so much critical acclaim for her reprisal of the Queen. Her ability to reflect the Queens mannerisms was uncanny and her costume changes were unbelievably quick, with some even being done on stage! Also, it was nice to see that her dialogue reflected current events with a reference being made to the Duke of Edinburgh's recent surgery.

The rest of the cast too were excellent, all being instantly recognisable in their respective roles. As soon as Haydn Gwynne walked out and curtseyed, the audience laughed at her clear representation of the indomitable Mrs Thatcher.   The political star of the show, aside from Helen Mirren, was undoubtedly Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson who was able to show the bond which Wilson an the Queen had. He burst onto the stage clutching his camera, had a corgi run through his legs and left the stage having won the hearts of the audience. 

As with all other National Theatre Live broadcasts, we were treated to a feature show in the interval. Firstly there was an interview with Peter Morgan, the author, who explained that all of the interactions were imagined due to the secretive nature of the weekly audience. He was obviously very passionate about the play but was dubious as to whether the Queen herself would like it! After this, there was a short film which revolved around the costumes in the show. I was fascinated to see the scrapbook of the Queens clothes which the costume designers had compiled in order to gain an air of authenticity in the costumes. The most breathtaking costume was without a shadow of a doubt the ball-gown which was being photographed by Cecil Beaton and was included at the request of Helen Mirren who wanted a sparkly dress!

This play was of particular interest to me because I have just finished studying British political history during the Queen's reign; however, my younger sister struggled to under
stand all of the dialogue because she did not understand the context of the Prime Ministers who were featured and so I would not necessarily recommend it for young people who don't have a good understanding of politics. Overall, I thought that this was a fabulous production which was full of incredible characterisation, simple sets and witty dialogue and so I am now excited to see what other shows the National Theatre Live is going to broadcast!

Please let me know your comments below and I'd be particularly interested to know what other people thought of the show.


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