Home » London Theatre Reviews » Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story at the Pleasance Theatre

Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story at the Pleasance Theatre

Nobody really knows what goes on in the royal household. Once the palace doors are closed anything could be happening behind the heavily curtained windows. Royal servants, on the whole, don’t give much away but every so often, rumours spill out about the antics of the ‘Firm’ as the late Queen used to call them. Maybe – though it is very unlikely – some of these rumours are the inspiration for Awkward Productions latest production, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story. Just in case, Michael and I popped in to check it out at the Pleasance Theatre, Islington, before the show embarks on a UK tour.

Diana: The Untold and Untrue StoryThe show follows the life of Diana, Princess of Wales (Linus Karp) from her conception, through her earliest days and through to the end. No aspect of Diana’s life is missed out. With tributes from her parents and former teachers leading to the fateful day she met Charles (Joseph Martin) and began the courtship which led to the fairy-tale wedding in 1981. We learn what the Queen (Geri Allen) and even God (Zina Badran) thought of our English Rose and are let into the greatest secret of Diana’s life. All in the space of just over an hour.

Writer, Director, and Producer Linus Karp is the man that almost made me like the 2019 film Cats and with his one-man show How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons from the 2019 Hit Musical Cats obviously has a very interesting brain. I’m not sure what made him think an unauthorised life story of one of the biggest British icons of all time would make good theatre, but he did and he has been proved right. There is a knack to his writing that takes the absurd and gives it enough of a spin that you could end up wondering if things could have actually happened the way it’s portrayed. And in this show, while Linus has kiboshed any chance of a knighthood, he could have Netflix knocking on his door for series 6 of The Crown. I can’t go into too much detail about the plot because it needs to be seen to be believed, but trust me when I say you’ll never look at the royals, and their corgis in quite the same way again.

Not only a talented playwright, but in the titular role of Diana, Linus really shows himself to be an amazingly versatile actor. With the hair and the slightly downcast tilt of the head and eyes, Linus looks every inch the late Lady Di. An effect enhanced when dressed in Diana’s trademark style of clothing and jewellery – I always knew a pearl necklace would look good on Linus.

As they say, no man or woman is an island and while Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story is a one-man show, there are many other characters involved, some appearing via video (and full credit to Videographer Dave Bird and Video Editor Daniel Boylett here) and some in person. There’s a bit of audience participation – I for example was a landmine – and some very energetic performances from Co-Director and Stage Manager Joseph Martin. All of which delivers a first-rate piece of theatre that had the audience near enough crying with laughter throughout.

To sum up, Linus Karp has delivered once again. Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story is an enchanting and entertaining take on someone raised to sainthood by the British public. It’s irreverent, charming, and very, very entertaining. As I left, I couldn’t help but wonder exactly where Linus’ imagination was going to take him when this tour is over and he sits down to work on the next Awkward productions story, and I have to say, I just can’t wait.

5 Star Rating

Review by Terry Eastham

The brand-new show from harbingers of queer chaos Awkward Productions and Linus Karp, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story has extended its London run at Pleasance Theatre. Combining drag, multimedia, audience interaction, puppetry and a lot of queer joy – this unique celebration of the people’s princess is as hilarious as it is tasteless.

Fun, stupid, queer, surprising, and full of audience participation – you have never seen the Queen of Hearts like this.
While Karp will bring Diana to life as the only actor on stage, other members of the royal family will appear in multimedia videos, voice overs, as giant dolls and cardboard cutouts. Geri Allen (Footloose, UK Tour) will portray The Queen, Joseph Martin (Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds) voices Prince Charles, and Zina Badran (Doctor Who, BBC) joins the cast to play God via interactive video clips.

Writer, Director, Producer Linus Karp
Associate Director, Stage Manager Joseph Martin
Designer Amy Pitt
Choreographer Sam Carlyle
Composer, Graphic Designer Wez Maddocks
LX Designer Ebbe Rodtborg
Photography, Videography Dave Bird
Video Editor Daniel Boylett
Drag and Makeup Artist Carrot
Puppetry Artist Tara Boland
BSL Interpreter Nicola Williams

Cast
Diana Linus Karp
The Queen Geri Allen
God Zina Badran
Prince Charles & Camilla Joseph Martin

Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story at Pleasance Theatre!
UK Tour: 8th November 2022 – 7th April 2023

Related News & Reviews Past & Present

Author

Scroll to Top