Helen Mirren cursed out a group of drummers from a gay pride parade over the weekend, all while dressed in full stage costume as Queen Elizabeth II. She’d been onstage performing The Audience at the Gielgud Theater when the drummers, part of a parade promoting a gay and transgender festival, stopped right outside the theater. That’s when Mirren came out and gave them a good talking to, reportedly dressed in pearls and a tiara. One of the gay drummers described it as “the most fabulous thing I have ever seen.” (Okay, I made up that quote, but it feels true).
The scene, as described by Dame Helen to The Daily Telegraph, played out on Saturday evening as the noisy band of carnival-style entertainers promoted London’s As One In the Park gay music festival while Dame Helen was on stage in The Audience, for she which earned an Olivier Award last week.
Dame Helen said: “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.
“I felt rotten but on the other hand they were destroying our performance so something had to be done.”
“The drumming just slowly got louder and louder and then settled right outside the stage door. There was just a thin wall between drumming and the theatre so it was unbelievably loud on stage. Paul Ritter and I could hardly hear each other speak and the audience couldn’t hear us speak at all.”
Minutes later, during the interval, the drummers suddenly fell silent as Dame Helen appeared from the stage door, evidently not amused. Mark McKenzie, who organised the parade, said: “Not much shocks you on the gay scene. But seeing Helen Mirren dressed as the Queen cussing and swearing and making you stop your parade – that’s a new one.”
Mr McKenzie claimed that Dame Helen had even given one of the parade promoters a regal tap around the head. [Telegraph]
What are “thespian words?” Words that someone else writes? Anyway, not all the drummers were so happy to quiet down, with one describing the scene in a hilarious BBC man-on-the-street interview:
“She was shouting in his face, everyone’s oblivious, they’re just dancing and drinking, it’s the weekend – and she’s shouting at him, you could see her gesturing, like [in high mocking voice] ‘I’ve got a show, I’ve got a show.’ And it’s like, how dare you try and take priority! You’ve got a show, but there’s thousands of people out here!” [BBC]
Personally, I think it’s great that Helen Mirren cursed out a parade of gay drummers, and she was well within the bounds of propriety to do so, but I admit I have a very specific fetish.