A BELEAGUERED Theresa May stumbles as she falls off the never ending conveyor belt of Prime Minister's outlived by The Queen.

The Audience may get under way in 1952, ahead of the Queen's Coronation, but it's truly up to the minute with Downing Street's political shenanigans.

Samuel Hodges' revival of Peter Morgan's exceptional play adds references to the ongoing Brexit saga and May's resignation.

But it's in the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and her historical Prime Ministers that this fascinating piece of theatre truly shines.

There's just one head of state and endless heads of Government. For nearly 70 years Her Majesty has enjoyed a private and completely off the record audience with the Prime Minister at Buckingham Palace every Tuesday night (except under Tony Blair's premiership when he insisted on moving the date to a Wednesday).

The Audience, brought to the stage by the man behind the critically acclaimed TV series The Crown and the Oscar Award winning film The Queen, imagines the conversations that have taken place in that room.

At times amusing, at time poignant, The Audience is both thought-provoking and exceptionally staged.

A cast of just five bring numerous characters to life.

Faye Castelow is a likeable, articulate and switched on Queen, at times unassuming, at times arrogant.

Paul Kemp plays all the male Prime Ministers with aplomb. Somehow he manages to pull off instantly recognisable Tony Blair and Winston Churchills within minutes of each other. His portrayal of an increasingly fragile Harold Wilson, said to be The Queen's favourite Prime Minister, was the most moving.

Lizzie Hopley's incredible Margaret Thatcher was like a caged animal. The country's two most powerful women stalked up and down that clever conveyor belt in the evening's most aggressive confrontation.

In The Audience, there is plenty to learn and plenty to admire.

The Audience runs until Saturday June 22.

Tickets: 023 8067 1771 or nstheatres.co.uk