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Theatre / The Audience

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The 2015 Broadway cast.

The Audience is a 2013 play by Peter Morgan, writer of The Queen (2006) and The Crown (2016). The play concerns the private audiences between Elizabeth II and all but three of her prime ministers. The play starred Helen Mirren in both its' original London run and a 2015 Broadway run. In 2015 the play was revived in the West End with Kristen Scott-Thomas as the Queen.

This show provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: At the time of the film's original production, The Queen had twelve Prime Ministers. The play depicts only eight of them: which eight depends on where and when the show was staged. Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home, and Edward Heath (all Tories, for whatever that's worth) are always omitted. In the original West End staging, Tony Blair was surprisingly omitted, but he was added to the Broadway staging (and James Callaghan dropped in consequence). It remains to be seen whether Theresa May (and her successors) will be added to future productions of the play.
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  • Anachronic Order: The play leaps between various years of the Queen's reign. At one point, it jumps all the way from the '90s to the early 1950s, resulting in an extremely impressive costume change for Elizabeth.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": When David Cameron implies that Britain's relationship with the EU and the Commonwealth won't change until the Queen, as she put it, "drops dead", he struggles to find a more diplomatic way of saying it until admitting yes.
  • Dawson Casting and Hollywood Old: Oddly enough, both tropes come into play for the same actor. We see the Queen move the age of 25 to almost 90, all played by the same person.
  • Ditzy Genius: Gordon Brown is an utter genius at economics, but he is barely comfortable with talking and is given medication for his stress.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Queen's go to response when her Prime Ministers give her a non-answer.
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  • Historical Domain Character: The Queen herself, as well as all the PMs she interacts with. Among them are Winston Churchill, Harold Wilson, David Cameron and others.
  • Odd Friendship: The refined Queen comes to regard the blunt and uncouth Harold Wilson as a good friend, being the only Prime Minister other than Churchill she invites to dine with.
  • The Peter Principle: Both John Major and Gordon Brown are portrayed as well-meaning men, but they are both horribly struggling to keep their position as neither is attuned to handle the political pressures within their parties and by their opponents.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: the coronation dress is most definitely an example of this.
  • Spiritual Successor: Prequel/sequel of sorts to The Queen. Also the inspiration for The Crown (2016).


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