LONDON (Reuters) - Actress Helen Mirren has delivered another show-stopping performance as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth after storming out of a London theatre dressed as the monarch to deliver an expletive-riddled tirade at a group of drummers ruining the play.
Infuriated by loud drumming outside the Gielgud Theatre, where Mirren is portraying the queen in the play “The Audience”, she burst out in full costume during the interval on Saturday night to tell them to shut up, with a few swear words thrown in for good measure.
“I’m afraid there were a few ‘thespian’ words used. They got a very stern royal ticking off but I have to say they were very sweet and they stopped immediately,” Mirren told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Mirren, 67, who last month added the best actress gong at Britain’s top theatre honors to the Academy Award she won for the 2006 film “The Queen”, said the drumming had got so loud it was disturbing cast and theatre-goers alike.
Audience members said they had tried unsuccessfully to silence the drummers, but the sight of one of Britain’s most prestigious actors dressed as the monarch did the trick.
Footage captured on mobile phone and aired on Sky News showed an angry Mirren, attired in tiara and pearls, accosting the drummers, waving her arms and gesticulating angrily before the music was brought to a sudden stop.
“I literally walked straight off stage, straight up the stairs and straight out the stage door and banged my way through the crowd who were watching and said ‘stop, you’ve got to stop right now’ only I might have used stronger language than that,” she told the newspaper.
“They were very sweet and stopped the minute they knew I wasn’t just a batty old woman haranguing them on the streets of Soho on a Saturday night.
“I felt rotten, but on the other hand they were destroying our performance so something had to be done.”
Liam Emerson, the musical director of the Batala London drummers who had been hired to advertise a gay festival later in May, said they had not intended to disturb anyone.
“Her language was very blue, which looking back on it is probably quite funny really,” he told Sky News. “But once I realized it was Helen Mirren and we were right next to a theatre we kind of stopped and politely apologized.”
Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Mike Collett-White