A troupe of street drummers got a shock when Helen Mirren, dressed as Queen Elizabeth II, emerged from a London theater where she is portraying the monarch to berate them for disrupting her show.
Mirren is starring in "The Audience," a drama about the weekly meetings between the queen and Britain's prime ministers over her 60-year reign.
The outside noise became too much for the actress to bear during Saturday's performance, and she left the theater during intermission to tell the group to be quiet. Mirren acknowledged to the Daily Telegraph newspaper that she used less-than-royal language in her rant.
"I'm afraid there were a few 'thespian' words used," Mirren was quoted as saying. "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."
Mirren added, "I was so upset from struggling through [a scene] that I literally walked straight off stage, straight up the stairs and straight out the stage door and banged my way through the crowd who were watching and said 'Stop, you've got to stop right now' -- only I might have used stronger language than that."
The drummers were marching through London's West End to promote As One in the Park, a gay music festival being held later this month.
"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."
Chris Dangerfield, a comedian, was filming the drummers from his nearby balcony when a cardigan-wearing figure burst through the stage door, gesticulating wildly.
Dangerfield said he couldn't hear what Mirren was saying over the drumming, but "I could tell it was hostile."
"I talked to a few of the drummers this morning," he said Monday. "The conductor, who really got it in the ear, said he was terrified."
Festival spokesman Mark Williams said organizers "are terribly upset if we caused her any distress. If she'd like to let her hair down and attend the festival she'd be more than welcome."