Sigrid Bernhoerster Staff Writer
Have you ever noticed how short-tempered older folks can sometimes be? They’ve had to put up with a lot in their time, and many are bound and determined not to put up with certain things. Dame Helen Mirren demonstrated on Saturday, May 4 that she will not put up with disruptions to theatre performances. Digital Spy (and the UK’s Mirror) reported that during the interval of the evening performance of “The Audience” at the Gielgud Theatre, she went out into the street where 25 percussion-playing musicians promoting a festival had decided they needed to stop and play. Their music could be heard in the theatre during the show, so it looks like first chance she got, she went out, in full costume as Queen Elizabeth II, to tell them to, well, “shut the **** up”, amongst other things.
I give her full credit – London has some really tight spaces. Every time I’m at the Duke of York’s Theatre, no matter how engrossed I am in the play (and for POSH last year, I was properly engrossed), the vibrations from the Underground can frequently be felt and you put up with it, because it’s London and space is tight, and you’re only a member of the audience. However, if you’re a performer, you need to be on your game. If you’re an Oscar winner, and most recently an Olivier-award winner for Best Actress, and as Mirren put it, “people have paid f***ing a hundred pounds for their theatre tickets” and you’re in a position to do something about it, you’re going to do it. Someone even got it on video.
After tempers cooled, and the papers had done their thing, Dame Helen also demonstrated what a class-act she is: earlier today (May 6), she posed for the Mirror in a white shirt on which she wrote a promo for the very festival the percussionists had been promoting, with a little reminder for them to please refrain from doing so themselves outside a theatre in future. Awesome!
I already have my ticket for the June 13 digital broadcast of “The Audience” courtesy of National Theatre Live and can honestly say I’m looking forward to this show even more now. If you’re curious, check this website to see if a theatre near you will be broadcasting it: http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/ntlout3-the-audience