Helen Mirren has returned to the role that won her an Oscar - that of Queen Elizabeth II - in new play The Audience, which premiered at the Gielgud Theatre last night (5 March 2013, previews from 15 February).

Read Michael Coveney's five star review here

Written by Peter Morgan (who also scripted The Queen), the play breaks the contract of silence and reveals a series of pivotal meetings between various Downing Street incumbents and their Queen.

Joining Mirren in the cast are Edward Fox as Winston Churchill, Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Paul Ritter as John Major and Rufus Wright as David Cameron.

Among the guests last night were Gemma Arterton, Sheridan Smith, Richard Bacon, Richard Curtis, Patrick Marber and politician David Miliband.