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British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald, left, greets Helen Mirren and her husband, director Taylor Hackford, at the embassy dinner. (Photo by Carrie Dorean)

One in an occasional series of dispatches from parties you should have crashed.

Event: British Embassy's post-show dinner Thursday for the cast of "Phèdre," now at Shakespeare Theatre.

Food: Sumptuous buffet of bloody meats, meats, more meats, shrimp, haricot verts, chocolate mousse.

Drink: Open bar, starring the Phèdre cocktail (pomegranate, Cointreau, lime, vodka, champagne). "Bloody and powerful," like the Athenian queen for which it's named, said Ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald, "but hopefully not lethal."

Draw: Dame Helen Mirren, whose star power sold out the entire run in hours and packed the dinner. The Oscar winner, in a white layered lacy ensemble, spent much of the night pinned to one spot receiving a barrage of fans, until director/husband Taylor Hackford gracefully ushered her to a table. We remembered when she rocked the black-tie Kennedy Center Honors in a hand-made "Help New Orleans" T-shirt in '05. "I thought about wearing it again tonight," she said.

A-listers: Mirren's co-star Dominic Cooper, Shakespeare Theatre's Michael Kahn, Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell, George Stephanopoulus, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

By The Reliable Source  |  September 21, 2009; 1:02 AM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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