Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Fiona Reid Relishes Regal Role as the Queen in Peter Morgan's 'The Audience'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Fiona Reid Relishes Regal Role as the Queen in Peter Morgan's 'The Audience'

Article excerpt

Fiona Reid becomes the Queen in 'The Audience'


TORONTO - Fiona Reid was just three years old and thousands of kilometres from her British birthplace when she caught her first live glimpse of the Queen.

Reid was born in Kent in southeast England, but as the daughter of a British military doctor, she relocated frequently with her family before eventually settling in Canada at the age of 12.

One of the countries she temporarily called home was Nigeria. It was there in 1956 that Reid stood atop an overturned water tank, waving a paper Union Jack while watching the Queen in her motorcade in the northwestern city of Kaduna.

"That was a bit magical," Reid recalled.

Her memories of the longest-serving British monarch are particularly poignant for the veteran actress as she portrays the Queen onstage in "The Audience." Following sold-out engagements in London and on Broadway, the latest adaptation of the theatrical smash now holds court at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto.

"The Audience" is the brainchild of Peter Morgan, who wrote the play between two other acclaimed projects centred on the inner workings of the current monarchy: Oscar-winning film "The Queen" and Netflix series "The Crown," which recently won the Golden Globe for best TV drama.

The play charts the Queen's evolution as she meets in her private chambers at Buckingham Palace with a succession of British prime ministers during her six-decade reign, including Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron.

"He has humanized what essentially is an institution that is not meant to be humanized," Reid said of Morgan. "It's a symbolic, traditional edifice, if you will, the monarchy, and yet we're very curious about it.

"It's intriguing to look at how the monarchy has changed over the years, (and) how with the change, in how the media works, that the monarchy has had to humanize themselves a little bit more. …

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