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Diana: the Untold and Untrue Story

Pleasance Theatre

Written and Performed by

Linus Karp







Synopsis

Do you know the story of Diana? Probably. But do you know our story of Diana? Join Diana in heaven as she shares the untold and untrue tale of her extraordinary life.


Review

Diana has arisen from her grave, giving a piece of her mind and her version of the story from birth to death, including some key historical events that defined her. These include her ascension to become the most liked royal, fashion icon, vanquisher of mistresses and many more accolades. However, Lady Di is not alone, she is supported by her backup crew, us, the audience, every step of the way!


As one would have expected, this production is delightful and witty, low budget and yet wonderfully appropriate given the material. Linus Karp is the personification of Lady Di, maintaining character throughout and even her costumes reflected some of the key moments in her life. However, Lady Di could have probably switched out of the wedding dress a bit earlier.


Although the portrayal of Camilla, through the use of a puppet with monstrous ghoul like voices, was over the top, one can understand this may not be too far-fetched from the view of a wife. King Charles, or as he was known then, Prince Charles, is literally played by a cardboard cut-out, a delightfully appropriate way to portray this character, given the lack of love and sexual tension between him and Lady Di. The love affair between Charles and Camilla ultimately leads to a jaw droppingly violent sexual intercourse between cardboard and puppet on stage. It was such a treat to receive several visits from Queen Elizabeth II (Geri Allen) through video, this version fully embracing her nature as the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland and confirming the audience’s suspicion of what goes on behind closed royal doors. Perhaps, this is what pushed Meghan Markle over the edge. Well, we may never know the truth.


Prior to the start of the performance, staffs hand out cards to members of the audience, which contains information on the role you will be “playing” during the show. Simply put, your role will appear on the projection and you will need to read out the dialogue or act out the directions displayed. Don’t worry, it is all very straight forward, good fun and also, you can tell the staff if you don’t want to do it. On one hand, having the audience act/read out specific directions can improve the immersive nature of the experience without the need for significant impromptu improvisation by Lady Di; however, this can also restrict the range of responses that can make the audience participation element more fun. Despite that, Lady Di maintained an excellent level of interaction with the participants and allowed them to flex their individuality if there was a desire to do so. Given that the show will be touring the UK and will be performed to a range of audiences, controlled audience participation can reduce the variability between performances, work by Lady Di and could generally work better for more anxious audience members.


This is a thoroughly enjoyable show and will appeal to a range of audiences, from those who are looking for a calm (ish) comedy sketch to those seeking wild audience participations. Lady Diana, if you can see this from heaven, I hope you found as much joy in it as we did. Queen Elizabeth, if you can see this too, well, just pretend this didn’t happen and have a quiet word with Lady Di.

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