We are welcomed to the Pleasance to be told a story of the British Icon of Diana, but very unsure of the show we are about to see. Knowing the previous work of Linus Karp, the audience are aware that the performance we are to be shown is to be one of chaos and beauty combined. Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story hits the Pleasance Theatre in London as their first stop of the UK tour.
Upon getting to their seats, various audience members are spoken to by the technician and are invited to participate in the show. The excitement and intrigue is evident in the room, but with the empty stage and blank projector screen, audience members are waiting curiously.
Once we are greeted by Lady Di, the audience is presented with Karp doing an uncanny impression of the stunning icon. The various costumes are fabulous replicas of the iconic looks we saw in the papers and on our screens, and the accurate accent and mannerisms are sustained throughout the hour-long performance. We are then taken through an absolutely ridiculous story, one which is definitely far from the truth, but we were never promised anything else.
Although extremely hilarious, queer, and playful, some moments often failed to land due to the amount of multimedia used in the show. Prince Charles’ character is a simple cut-out on stage with an accurately performed voiceover giving his lines. Unfortunately, the constant laughter from the audience often meant the lines were not heard. Diana is responding to voiceovers, or projected video clips, which then becomes a little tiresome throughout the show. All interaction with audience members works brilliantly, especially given the space of the venue. The comedy presents itself through the many impromptu performances given by audience members, with many caught off guard in the moment. Lines are performed in various ways, with some members fully committing to their roles, and other awkwardly feeling obliged. Since this interactive nature of the show worked so well, it raises the question of whether this is a need for the multitude of pre-recorded material being used.
With the show opening in the same week as the release of Netflix’s The Crown, and so soon after the loss of our monarch, it was quite surreal to be presented on stage with a complete mockery of the country’s royals. It was hilariously done, pressing on key moments from the papers, mocking mannerisms, and even creating a monster puppet representing Charles’ other woman – but it is very clear this show is not made for royalists. Fans of Lady Di are very much welcome and are evidently present in the audience. If you are not prepared to witness the Royal Family being ridiculed, this show is not one for you.
The performance from Karp was very entertaining, crude, and beautifully queer, but possibly a little underdeveloped. Can this solo show be listed as a ‘solo show’ if so much interaction with pre-recorded media using other performers is present? Although certain moments were a little repetitive or unnecessary, the show is a very enjoyable performance for the hardcore fans of the iconic Queen of Hearts, Lady Diana Spencer.
Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story is on its UK Tour until March 2023.
Review: Anna Hulm