Review, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story, Awkward Productions, Kings Head Theatre by Hannah Goslin

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

What do you expect from a show with such a title? I’m not sure. I wasn’t sure if I was attending satire, a royal love letter or a complete reinvention of Diana Spencer. In a way, it was a little bit of all this and a whole lot more.

We meet Lady Di, in heaven, retelling her * untrue * story of love, loss, death and gay rights. We rush through her life in a whirlwind, facing facts we know from the papers and others that are assumed/invented. Boundaries are blown away, laughter is rife amongst the chaos and reinvention is something of genius.

Linus Karp is the absolute spit of Diana in physical form and in every mannerism. They have it down to a tee in the subtleties and in the elements we know her for; the voice, the slight head tilt, adding other hilarious physicality such as the perceived stiff royal wave. While scripted, there are moments of ad lib which are done in the most Diana of ways and keeping entirely to character. There are certainly moments when you need to remind yourself that this is not the real Diana and this is the untrue story.

Camp, hammed up multi-media and narratives are included, moving a story to something very theatrical, satirical and utterly hilarious. Repeated phrases such as “I am the Queen” or “Whatever X means”, just become funnier and funnier. Expected but always a brilliant theatrical addition. It adds to the chaos and the comedy of it all. Karp is also not afraid to attack conspiracy theories, pop culture references, bold statements, change facts to fit the comical narrative, about the royals and the dark humour of this is done without holding back, which only makes it more genius and more funny.

With this being a 1-2 person cast, many other elements are supported by audience members, prompted by the big screen, to get up, perform and read lines. We have Lady Di’s parents, a corgi, made up nannies… all which threw themselves into the roles and had fun. The audience was spectacular and really took the interaction with all they had. It made the show flow and added to the comedy and enjoyment, to see that they also were having a great time being involved.

Diana: The Untold and Untrue story is a laugh a minute, humorously dark and boundary pushing, with that extra sprinkle of campness: a perfect performance if you want your sides to split while questioning if Diana has been resurrected in front of you.

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