Thursday, 7 May 2015

Review: The Audience at the Apollo Theatre starring Kristin Scott Thomas

The Audience 
Apollo Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 6th May 2015

Peter Morgan's play The Audience premiered in the West End two years ago with Helen Mirren receiving huge acclaim for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II. Mirren is currently recreating her performance on Broadway whilst a new, updated version has opened its doors to West End audiences at the Apollo Theatre.

Morgan has specifically tailored the piece for new leading lady Kristin Scott Thomas who steps into the shoes of Queen Elizabeth II. The Audience imagines the weekly meetings between Queen Elizabeth II and her prime ministers (throughout the show we see eight of the Queen's twelve Prime Ministers take to the stage).

The Audience is both historic and hugely relevant; Morgan is currently on stand-by for a post-election rewrite. At present the most up-to-date scene sees the Queen and David Cameron's final meeting before the imminent election.

I didn't see the original production so took my seat with a fresh pair of eyes. Whilst many are comparing Scott Thomas' portrayal to Mirren's, I simply enjoyed watching Scott Thomas performing with a twinkle in her eye. She has fun with the role, offering sincerity and heart as well as strength and wit. 

The structure takes us back and forth in time throughout, with a Young Elizabeth breaking up various sections. Many of Scott Thomas' major costume changes take place onstage with a team subtly transforming her within seconds. Bob Crowley's design sweeps back and looks stunning.

The Audience is intriguing; Morgan's writing offers a fun insight. The piece is fascinating and, on occasion, a little silly which works wonderfully. There are also a handful of poignant moments which Scott Thomas conveys beautifully, there is most certainly more to her portrayal of the Queen than first meets the eye.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The Audience runs at the Apollo Theatre until 25th July 2015.
Please visit for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit:  Johan Persson

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