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Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story- play review (streaming)

If you're after a totally unhinged, humorous recollection of the life of our People's Princess, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story might just be for you. However, it is definitely not one for everyone, and illustrates the authentic atmosphere of proper intimate fringe theatre, particularly in its reoccurring feast of audience participation and interaction throughout, to assist in turning the 'solo' performance into one with many characters.

Written and starring Linus Karp as Diana, the show has been broadcast globally, and will be appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe later in the summer too. With merchandise, a cast recording, and an upcoming script release amongst a flurry of positivity from the press, it's clear that the wacky royal representation has previously had a lot of love: not by monarchists by any stretch though, nor any serious and profound viewers the may be after some cultured comedy!

Opening with heavenly scenes, the mockery begins, and seemingly unsuspecting audience members are selected to become Diana's parents, proving to be great sports for the birthing scenes, chosen before the show, but having never seen their script prior. Soon, we skip forwards to her awkward meeting with (totally high budget, cardboard cut out) Charles and the interesting flirting methods commence. The queen - played on screen by Geri Allen- appears at multiple intervals throughout the show after her own entrance song, to impart her wisdom on the events in question. In a chaotic and frenzied manner, a demonic sounding ragdoll-like puppet is brought out to emulate Camilla, being flung about in an oddly sexual and disturbing manner.

An Archbishop from the audience assists to officiate the royal wedding with an unconventional first dance, and soon, two nannies are thrown into the mix to bring up the newborns (one sporting very blazing hair). Loosely following the actual events, there is talk of the paparazzi and other prominent incidences, but also continuous mention of her work supporting gay people too, particularly those with HIV and AIDS, alongside her frequently noticeable Diana fashion icon status, with the 'revenge dress' being worn. With a range of references from over the years - from iconic quotes such as 'there were three of us in this marriage'; to tampon-gate, and more recently, using Elizabeth Arden cream - the show is built on turning these into a sketch, while incorporating pop culture phrases too... what a sad little life Jane.

You do begin to wonder how much can be taken from the brief, but it just keeps going... perhaps to the point beyond where it needs to, progressing to be so random when straying away from the narrative with an alternative conclusion, that it loses its way and feels a little dragged out. With various snippets of song featured at different points though, these are an amusing addition to the overall piece, in particular 'Friend of Di' and 'D.I.A.N.A' that occur near the end. Linus did well to maintain the posh voice without breaking character amongst the funny moments, using the stage to tell a story, that is definitely not the truth.

Being so interactive and smashing the fourth wall from every angle, there is an appeal to audiences that want to feel immersed into the madness before them, getting some class reactions to their absurd lines. It's not everyone’s cup of tea but certainly a creative interpretation of theatre, without a doubt. I'm sure Diana herself would have something to say!


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