9 March 2013 4:08 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Gielgud, London

Well, I didn't believe in it but I was seduced by it. At least for a while. The Audience – the first surefire, unstoppable hit of the year – has been created to disarm all comers. Helen Mirren sparklingly reprises her passive-faced but steely-eyed performance as a Queen who is both stalwart and wistful. Stephen Daldry, the man who once said he would not mind being mayor of London, and who would do a spectacular job, brings to the production the giant flair that he brought to Billy Elliot and An Inspector Calls. Peter Morgan's script nods at those not enamoured of all things monarchical, suggesting that underneath the perm there is something of a lefty brain. Real live corgis are unleashed.

Still, zinging moments are not finally enough to disguise the fact that Morgan's very entertaining play is a skinny thing, a string of sketches dependent on high-grade mimicry. »

- Susannah Clapp

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