Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story at the King’s Head Theatre

Sometimes as a reviewer, you have to do things which utterly repel and disgust you. So, it was today when I went to the Website of the Daily Mail to see what they thought of Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story which I saw last night at the King’s Head Theatre. Sorry, I’ll be back in a moment, I need to have a shower now after looking at Mail Online. I’m back, and yes, the DM hated the show, calling it ludicrous and repellent. Now you may think that this is enough of a review to make you want to see Diana immediately, but just in case you don’t, then read on.

Diana the Untrue and Untold Story (Credit Dave Bird).
Diana the Untrue and Untold Story (Credit Dave Bird).

The show takes the audience through the lifetime of Lady Diana (Linus Karp) from conception until her entry into the gates of heaven. In the journey, we learn how Diana went from just being one of the most talented and beautiful children in the world – confirmed by various teachers who had the pleasure of having her as a pupil – through to her teenage years when she met the Prince of Wales and fell in love, whatever falling in love is. Diana takes us to her first meeting with the Queen (Geri Allen). As an aside, we know it’s the Queen because she tells us “I am the Queen.” We go to the wedding, and the subsequent happy family life as Diana gives birth to the heir and the spare. And we get to meet the third party in the relationship, Camilla – beautifully ‘puppeted’ (and I know that’s not a real word) by Joseph Martin – and follow her attempts to break up the fairytale marriage of Prince of Wales and Queen of Hearts.

There is so much more I could tell you about the show and Diana’s story – virtually none of which is true and has come out of the overactive imagination of Writer, Co-Director, and Producer Linus Karp, but I’m not going to give too much away as an awful lot is packed into the seventy-five minutes runtime. As a production Linus and Joseph have pulled out all the stops to produce an amazing, highly irreverent, and extremely funny show. One of the strengths in the writing is that while it is really out there in places, everything in the story is just within the bounds of possibility and none of it is anywhere as weird or unbelievable as some of the many conspiracy theories surrounding the life and death of Diana.

I have seen the show before and still marvel at how well Linus channels Diana in his performance. Aside from the costumes, including the wedding and revenge dresses, Linus manages to capture those head and facial movements that we know so well from a million pictures and news shots. Joseph also does an amazing job, not only as Camilla’s puppeteer, but also the voice of Charles and making sure the willing audience volunteers are in place and ready when their time comes to temporarily add themselves to the cast as anything from Diana’s mum and dad to the Queen’s corgi. Excellent use is made of videography with not only the Queen but also God (Zina Badran) making appearances along with a royal name-generator game at the start of the show.

One of my many highlights was the moment Diana had us all take out our phones to take photos. Not only did this on a real level show what it must have been like for her to be constantly ‘papped’, it also was a great marketing tool as I keep seeing the pictures being published on social media.

You’ve probably guessed that I loved Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story and you would be right. But I was not alone. My companion for the evening, Hilary, loved every second and going by the standing ovation at the end, so did everyone else. Would I change anything? No, the show works perfectly as it is and let’s be honest if the ‘Daily Fail’ hates it, every right-thinking person in the country is going to love it, and they would be very right.

5 Star Rating

Review by Terry Eastham

Following a sold-out, award-winning run at the Edinburgh Fringe, ‘Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story’ is making a royal visit.

Do you know the story of Diana? Probably. But do you know our story of Diana? We very much doubt it.

Join Diana in heaven as she shares the untold and untrue tale of her extraordinary life. Combining drag, multimedia, audience interaction, puppetry and a lot of queer joy – this unique celebration of the peoples princess is as hilarious as it is tasteless.

A show from harbingers of theatrical chaos Awkward Productions (Gwyneth Goes Skiing, how to live a jellicle life), written and performed by Linus Karp and created with support from Arts Council England.

CAST & CREATIVES
CAST
Diana | Linus Karp
Charles, Camilla and Others | Joseph Martin
The Queen | Geri Allen
God | Zina Badran

CREW
Writer, Director, Producer | Linus Karp
Co-Director, Producer, Additional Material, Stage Manager | Joseph Martin
Original Music | Wez Maddocks
Designer | Amy Pitt
Choreography | Sam Carlyle
LX Design | Ebbe Rodtborg
Additional LX Design | James Appleby
Associate Producers | Karim-Pasha Ladbon, Ryan Ludick
Video Design and Editing | Daniel Boylett
Puppetry Consultant | Tara Boland
Make Up Artist | Carrot
Photography, Videography | Dave Bird

https://kingsheadtheatre.com/

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