A group of street drummers inadvertently interrupted a performance of Peter Morgan's play The Audience at London's Gielgud Theatre over the weekend — and star Helen Mirren decided she wasn't going to stand for it.
According to Mirren, who's playing Queen Elizabeth in the play, the drumming got so loud outside the theater during the first half of the performance Saturday night that the actors couldn't hear each other on stage and the audience couldn't hear anything at all, Britain's Daily Telegraph reports. So, during the play's intermission, Mirren stormed off the stage and out of the theater in full costume to give the drummers a piece of her mind.
Band organizer Joe O'Leary told the U.K.'s Daily Mirror: "She was saying, 'shut the f--- up, people have paid f---ing a hundred pounds for their theater tickets'. She said the F-word about 20 times. I kept saying, 'we didn't realise' and she was like, 'Just shut the f--- up'. You couldn't get a word in edgeways, she was proper on a rant."
The Oscar winner acknowledged that she had used "a few 'thespian' words" in her rant. "They got a very stern royal ticking off," she later told the Telegraph. "I felt rotten but on the other hand they were destroying our performance so something had to be done. ... They were very sweet and stopped the minute they knew I wasn't just a batty old woman haranguing them on the streets of Soho on a Saturday night."
The drummers were playing as part of London's As One in the Park gay music festival.
"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."
During the play's second half, a power outage caused the stage lights to go out, according to the Telegraph, prompting Mirren to say to the audience, "We seem to be having a bit of a bad night."
Check out the video of her confrontation with the drummers: