Helen Mirren has won acclaim from critics after debuting her second portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in new play The Audience.
The actress, who won an Oscar for her turn in 2006 drama The Queen, has reprised her role as the monarch for the production, which officially opened at the Gielgud Theater in London's West End on Tuesday (05Mar13).
Mirren confessed she was "terrified and really, really scared" about the show, but she managed to win over the tough British press with her turn in The Audience, which dramatises pivotal meetings between the Queen and 12 prime ministers over 60 years.
Michael Billington of The Guardian newspaper praises Mirren for giving a "faultless performance that transcends mere impersonation to endow the monarch with a sense of inner life", calling the play a "glorious second reign for Queen Helen".
Giving the play five stars, Libby Purves of The Times writes, "Mirren is well at ease with her royal persona, spanning the decades with discreet lighting, wig-changes and costumes she skilfully mellows both accent and manner too, as brittle girlish dutifulness matures into dry self-assurance".
The Daily Mail's theater reviewer Quentin Letts says of Mirren, "She not only looks passably like our monarch but also inhabits the character in a deeper way, from little touches to the handbag, to the half-throw, dry asides... It is more impressive on the stage where Dame Helen's blend of regal composure and stolid understatement is tangible".
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