Dressed as Queen Elizabeth, actress Helen Mirren stunned a band of street drummers into silence after she gave them a royal lashing for disturbing her performance on stage in London’s West End.
“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 UK newspaper the Telegraph. “I felt rotten but on the other hand they were destroying our performance so something had to be done.”
Mirren, 67, recently returned to her Oscar-winning performance as the reigning monarch in a new play, “The Audience,” for which she won the Olivier Award last week.
Dame Helen told the Telegraph that the drummers, promoting their festival for gay and transgender people scheduled later this month in London, were so loud during the final scene of the first act that she could hardly hear her co-star, Paul Ritter, and the audience couldn’t hear them at all. During intermission, she confronted the street performers outside the Gielgud Theatre.
“I was so upset from struggling through the scene with Paul that 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 said.
Rufus Wright, who plays Prime Minister David Cameron in the production, tweeted, “You should have seen Helen. She came out in full Queen costume and shouted at the drummers too. Honestly. It was breathtaking.”
The drummers immediately ceased playing.
“Not much shocks you on the gay scene,” parade organizer Mark McKenzie told the Telegraph. “But seeing Helen Mirren dressed as the queen cussing and swearing and making you stop your parade – that’s a new one.”
Festival spokesman Mark Williams told The Guardian, “Obviously we are terribly upset if we caused her any distress. If she’d like to let her hair down and attend the festival she’d be more than welcome.”