Helen Mirren won an Oscar for playing the title role in the film “The Queen” and teamed up again with the writer Peter Morgan in this stage production on the Queen audiences with Prime Ministers throughout her reign so far. The need to cover all 65 years made the play inherently episodic but gave the drama the free reign to mix up the chronology and emphasised the more dramatic encounters towards the later half of the play. There were some duller characters such as John Major who nonetheless provided some comedic moments. The inclusion of David Cameron allowed for some up to date jokes and comments which could be updated regularly throughout the run. Some of the scenes were linked by the Queen having an imaginary dialogue with her younger self which allowed the emotional aspect of the play to develop which was at times moving but maybe a little too over sentimental. The performance of Helen Mirren as the Queen was, as expected, excellent and capably juggling playing the Queen throughout 65 years of her reign contrasting the younger, less confident self to the seemingly unfazed present day version. The various Prime Ministers were played with suitable references to each corresponding personal traits without drifting into comedic impressions. Richard Maccab and Paul Ritter playing Harold Wilson and John Major respectively excelled particularly in their portrayal. The set was minimal and all but one scene was set with a luscious backdrop of the interior of Buckingham palace with an exaggerated perspective giving it great depth. The direction of Stephen Daldry managed the balancing of the episodic nature of the play and the performances with great precision. There were some unevenness to the proceedings with some scenes being more interesting than others, however, it was a production of high quality and a very satisfactory evening.


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